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SERMONS 

S. P. WILLIAM;? 



SERMONS 



oy 



VARIOUS SUBJECTS, CHIEFLY PRACTICAL. 



BY SAMUEL PORTER WILLIAMS, 

I.ATE PASTOR OF THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN 
NEWBURY PORT, MASS. 



TOGETHER WITH A SKETCH 



OF 



THE AUTHOR'S LITE AND CHARACTER. 




SALEM : 

FFJ5TED AT THE ESSEX REGISTER OFFICE. 

1S27. 

is 



District of Massachusetts, to wit : 

DISTRICT CLEB 

BE it remembered, that on the second day of June, A. D. 1827, in the 
fifty- first year of the Independence of the United States of America, WIL- 
LIAM WILLIAMS, of said district, has deposited in this office the title 
of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, 
to wit : — 

" Sermons on Various Subjects, Chiefly Practical. By SAMUEL POR- 
TER WILLIAMS, late Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in New- 
buryport, Mass. Together with a Sketch of the Author's Life and Char- 
acter." 

In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, 
" An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, 
charts and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the 
times therein mentioned :" and also to an act entitled, "An act supplemen- 
tary to an act, entitled, An act for the encouragement of learning, by secur- 
ing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of 
such copies during the times herein mentioned ; and extending the benefits 
thereof to the arts of designing, engraving and etching historical, and other 
prints," 

TNO W DAVIS I Clerk of the District 
JNa W. DAVIS, J f Massachusetts, 



W. PALFRAY, JR. AND J. CHAPMAN, SALEM. 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



-SOO- 
THE reader of these Discourses should remem- 
ber that they are posthumous ; and therefore writ- 
ten without the remotest prospect of publication. 
Every one acquainted with literary labors, knows 
that an Author is desirous to give his productions 
the finishing stroke ; the last polish of the file ; 
without which they can hardly be considered as 
specimens of his doctrinal sentiments or his abili- 
ties. In selecting these Sermons from a very large 
mass, (a monument of the Author's industry) we 
have prescribed to ourselves these rules : — we have 
endeavoured to select those subjects, not exhaust- 
ed by previous writers 5 to present truths, which, 
if not absolutely original, need to be more tho- 
roughly and solemnly recommended to the reader's 
notice 5 and we have had some reference likewise 
to the Author's genius and maimer. His style is 
redundant and flowing, pill of amplification and 
illustrations 5 and on themes which needed this he 
was peculiarly excellent. Doctrinal subjects have 
been avoided 5 not because the writer was not bold 
in avowing his sentiments, but because the Divines 
of New England have been abundant in discus- 
sions of this kind. We have considered the wants 
of the church, and endeavored, in some measure at 
least, to meet them. These principles have gov- 
erned us in the selection ; and they are here stat* 



IV 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



ed, because they account for the miscellaneous 
character, and immethodical arrangement of the 
volume. 

Let the reader remember that this volume is the 
preaching of the dead. The tomb is now the 
Preacher's pulpit, and his audience are those who 
are hastening to the tomb. All praise or censure, 
for faults or merits merely literary, are now to him 
empty sounds. But a tear of penitence dropped 
on these pages, or a desire for christian improve- 
ment begotten by their perusal, may increase his 
felicity even in the realms of bliss. 

LEONARD WITHINGTON> 
WILLIAM WILLIAMS, 

Salem, June 1, 1827- 



% 1 ; > 



CONTENTS. 



Biographical Sketch of the Author. i 

SERMON I. 
A Compendium of the Gospel. 
Mark xvi. 15. — Preach the Gospel to every creature. 

SERMON II. 
Estimate of the World's Morality. 
Mark x. 21. — Jesus beholding him, loved him; and 
said unto him, One thing thou lackest. . . 13 

SERMON III. 
Obedience Essential to Salvation. 
Revelation xxii. 14. — Blessed are they that do his 
commandments, that they may have right to the tree of 
life, and may enter in through the gates into the city, 27 

SERMON IV. 
Experimental Religion Vindicated. 
Psalm lxvi. 16. — Come and hear, all ye that fear 
God, and I will declare what he hath done for my 
soul. * . . "• .* " • - y v * ' * - . 42* 

SERMON V. 
Every Man's Business. 
1 Thessalonians iv. 11. — But we beseech you, breth- 
ren, that ye increase more and more, and that ye 
study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and 
to work with your own hands, as we commanded you. 57 



vi 



CONTENTS. 



SERMON VI. 
A Funeral Sermon on the Living. 

Psalm xlix. 17. — When he dieth he shall carry noth- 
ing away ; his glory shall not descend after him. . 69 

SERMON VII. 
Christian Diligence. 
Hebrews vi. 11, 12. — And we desire — that ye be not 
slothful, but followers of them who through faith and 
patience inherit the promises. . . . .81 

SERMON VIII. 
Modesty of Apparel. 
1 Timothy ii. 8, 9. — J will — that women adorn them- 
selves in modest apparel, with shame- facedness and 
sobriety. ... . . . . .96 

SERMON IX. 
The Duty of Confessing Christ. 
Matthew x. 32, 33. — Whosoever therefore shall con- 
fess me before men, him will I confess also before my 
Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall 
deny me before men, him will I also deny before my 
Father which is in heaven. . . . , 116 

SERMON X. 
The Christian Race. 
Hebrews xti. 1. — Wherefore, seeing we also are com- 
passed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us 
lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily 
beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is 
set before us, looking unto Jesus. . . . 132 



CONTENTS. vii 

SERMON XI. 

The Christian Pilgrim. 

Psalm xxxix. 12. — For I am a stranger with thee, and 
a sojourner, as all my fathers were. . . . 149 

SERMON XII. 
The only proper object of Solicitude. 
Philippians iv. 5, 6, 7. — Be careful for nothing : but 
in every thing, hy prayer and supplication, with 
thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto 
God ; and the peace of God, which passeth all under- 
standing, shall keep your hearts and minds through 
Christ Jesus. . . 163 

SERMON XIII. 
Christian Exultation, 

Galatians vi. 14. — But God forbid that 1 should 
glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by 
■whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the 
world. . . . . . . . .177 

SERMON XIV. 
The Mount of Refuge. 
Genesis xix. 17. — Escape for thy life — look not be- 
hind thee — neither tarry thou in all the plain. Es- 
cape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. . 195 

SERMON XV. 
Vindictive Justice Incompatible with Charity. 
Romans xii. 19. — Dearly beloved, avenge not your- 
selves, but give place unto wrath : for it is written — 
Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. . 207 



viii 



CONTENTS. 



SERMON XVI. 
The Guilt and Danger of Scandalizing Souls. 

Luke xvii. 1, 2. — Then said he unto the disciples, it 
is impossible but that offences will come : but wo unto 
him by whom they come ! It were better for him that a 
mill-stone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into 
the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 225 

SERMON XVII. 

The Nature of Gracious Compassion. 

Luke xix. 41. — And when he was come near, he beheld 
the city, and wept over it. . . . . 242 

SERMON XVIIL 
The Kingdom of Christ. 
John xviii. 36. — My kingdom is not of this vjorld. 257 

SERMON XIX. 
Acquiescence in the Will of God. 
Job xxxiv. 33. — Should it be according to thy mind ? 274 

SERMON XX. 
The Value of Life. 
Isaiah xxxviii. 18, 19, 20. — The grave cannot praise 
thee ; death cannot celebrate thee ; they that go down 
into the pit cannot hope for thy truth : the living, 
the living, he shall praise thee as I do this day ; the 
father to the children shall make known thy truth. 
The Lord was ready to save me ; therefore we will 
sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days 
of our life in the house of the Lord. . . 286 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE. 



— eo^- 
THE Rev. Samuel P. Williams was born in 
Wethersfield, Connecticut, Feb. 22, 1779. His 
family was respectable ; descended from some of 
the most celebrated divines New England has pro- 
duced. The venerable Stoddard, who preceded 
Jonathan Edwards at Northampton, was his great 
grand-father on the mother's side. William Wil- 
liams, whose name is found on the controversial 
pages of Edwards, was his paternal great grand- 
father. The race may almost claim an hereditary 
alliance with the sacred desk. 

He was early destined to a literary life. He en- 
tered Yale College in the year 1792 ; at the age 
of 13 ; an age too early to reap the benefits of 
such an institution. There is a culpable ambition 
in some parents to crowd a child along faster than 
his powers will admit. Such a scholar, finding his 
strength not equal to the competition with which 
he is surrounded, naturally surrenders himself to 
idleness, and too often to vice. It does not appear 
that young Williams was ever vicious ; but he re- 
flects on his time in College in the language of se- 
B 



X BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE. 

vere self-condemnation. " My Collegiate life is 

past, and with it four years of . I have forever 

to mourn the neglect of their precious advantages. 
Time, expectation, money, all squandered. I re- 
solve to redeem that which is lost." 

He was graduated in 1796 ; and was for some 
time engaged in mercantile employments. These 
years passed without any special regard to reli- 
gion. He was a man of too much frankness and 
honesty to be successful in the scramble for riches. 
He hated dissembling more than he loved his inter- 
est. By what particular circumstances he was 
first led to serious reflection, we have no means of 
knowing. It appears from his papers that in 
March 1803 he became a communicant ; and that 
he entered into his covenant engagements with the 
humility of a penitent sinner 5 and the hopes of a 
believer in Christ. 

His attention was now turned toward the study 
of Theology. He pursued his studies first in 
New Haven under the direction of Dr. Dwight ; 
and afterwards at Springfield, with Dr. Howard to 
whom he was related. He was licensed at West 
Springfield, April 10th, 1805 ; preached his first 
Sermon at Amherst the next month ; and soon re- 
ceived an invitation from Springfield, the place of 
his studies, to settle as a Colleague with his in- 
structed 

In Springfield many of the people differed from 
him in their religious tenets ; and therefore this in- 
vitation must be considered as very honorable to 







BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE . 



xi 



his abilities as a preacher. The settlement however 
never took place. 

He was already under two invitations, from 
other places — Deerfield in Mass. and Mansfield in 
Conn. At Deerfield there was great unanimity ; 
Mansfield was in a broken state, and, had he con- 
sulted his own ease, it seemed as if he would h.ive 
chosen the former place. He decided however on 
going to Mansfield ; in which place he was ordain- 
ed January 1st, 1807. The Sermon was preached 
by Doctor Parsons of Amherst. 

The Church and parish in Mansfield had been 
distracted by controversy. Their former pastor 
had left the Orthodox faith to embrace Unitarian- 
ism — and it was in the hope of being a healer of 
breaches without betraying the truth, that Mr. 
Williams went among them. A minority in the 
church were avowed Unitarians 5 but consented to 
the settlement of Mr. Williams, on receiving a 
pledge from the whole body, that they should re- 
tain their sentiments without being excluded from 
the communion. Such was the ferment in which 
he found the place, occasioned by these discus- 
sions, that for two years he omitted preaching on 
these tender points. In a man of his talents and 
temperament, consenting to such an omission was 
remarkable. It shewed that he had prudence as 
well as zeal 5 and, although on all occasions it was 
natural for him to utter truth, he could for a time 
withhold it, when the utterance would produce no 
beneficial effect. 



xii 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE. 



But as soon as the effervescence had subsided, 
Mr. Williams began to think it important that 
no part of the Gospel, which he deemed essential, 
should be concealed. He therefore laboured to 
convince his people of the proper Deity of Christ ; 
of his atonement ; and of the new coloring and in- 
fluence which all the rays of the Gospel must as- 
sume by radiating from so central a point. This 
instead of producing conviction, was tearing open 
old wounds ; it was the origin of difficulties which 
finally ended in his separation from his people. 

It will not be necessary to present in detail all 
the circumstances which led to his departure from 
Mansfield. It was not merely a theological differ- 
ence ; the people were negligent in affording him 
sufficient support. He had an increasing family ; 
and money after his ordination had depreciated in 
value. His nominal salary was therefore really 
less than at first. He remonstrated with his peo- 
ple and related his difficulties 5 but without effect. 
His ministry was closed in Mansfield, September 
7th, 1807 5 in which place he had preached nine 
hundred sermons. 

There is a scrupulous delicacy expected and re- 
quired of a Clergyman in all pecuniary transac- 
tions, by some people, who having little generosity 
themselves, resolve that their religious teachers 
shall be generous to excess. But surely it is not 
unworthy of those who preach, and who are animat- 
ed by the most disinterested virtue, to remember 
that usefulness cannot be continued without li% 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE. XUl 

nor life supported without bread. In all concerns, 
men should in the outset understand each other ; 
and the preacher who from real, or affected deli- 
cacy, neglects at his settlement to demand explicit- 
ness in the contract, will suffer for it in the end. 
If a preacher is an example to the flock, he must 
provide for his family. 

Previous to his removal from Mansfield, Mr. 
Williams received invitations from some of the 
most respectable churches in our largest cities, to 
preach to them with a view to settlement ; — a suf- 
ficient proof of his reputation as a preacher. 

After spending two years at Northampton, where 
his labours were peculiarly blessed ; he was invit- 
ed to Newbury port, December, 1820, to preach in 
the pulpit then made vacant by the removal of Dr. 
Dana to the presidency of Dartmouth College. In 
this region, the peculiarly favourable impression 
made by his first discourses will be long remem- 
bered. He received an unanimous invitation to 
become pastor of the first Presbyterian church 5 
and was installed February 8th, 1821. 

During the few years that he continued among 
us, he left, on the minds of all, the impression of 
possessing the character of an ardent friend to 
truth, a faithful minister, and an honest and inde- 
pendent man. His labours in the ministry were 
abundant; and his success though gradual was 
great. He paid particular attention to the young ; 
and endeavoured to warn, reprove and rebuke with 
all long-suffering and doctrine. His melodious 



XIV BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE. 

voice always won the ear ; his ornamental lan- 
guage gratified the fancy ; and his pungent doc- 
trine reached the heart. Under his ministry many 
were added to the church ; and many more brought 
to a knowledge of the truth. 

Though a very active man, and having all the 
appearance of health and vigour, he had long been 
troubled with dyspepsical complaints. He had 
several times been taken from his labours by sick- 
ness previous to the final attack of his disease. 
During the last year of his ministry he was very 
feeble. His last public performance was to preach 
the thanksgiving sermon of 1826, on the value of 
life. He expired December 23d of the same year ; 
leaving a widow and a numerous family of children, 
the fruit of two marriages, to mourn his depar- 
ture. — ut bonis comis, it a adversus malos inju- 
cundus : ceterum ex iracundia nihil supererat. 
Secretum et silentium ejus nan timeres ; hones - 
this putabat offendere, qnam odisse. 

His funeral Sermon was preached by Mr. With- 
ington, from which the following extract may serve 
for his moral portrait. The text was II Cor. v, 7. 
The subject, The influence of faith, in the calam- 
ities of life. 

" The subject has been suggested by the 

departure of one who was himself eminently a man 
of faith; and whose closing scene exhibited its 
supporting power. In speaking of the character 
of the Rev. Mr. Williams, I feel myself in very 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE. 



XV 



little danger of being subject to the charge of 
heaping unmerited praise on the dead. The lines 
of his character were strongly marked ; every fea- 
ture of his mind was bold and prominent. It 
needs no discriminating pencil to draw his like- 
ness ;' and in speaking of his merits, I shall be 
more confident, because I shall say nothing, which 
will not be assented to by every friend and every 
foe. The quality which first struck the observer, 
was the perfect transparency of his purposes ; 
every word and gesture seemed to say — Here is a 
man, who is above all disguise. His heart was 
not left lurking in the folds of impenetrable con- 
cealment ; but it was in his face, and on his 
tongue ; and seemed to challenge the observer to 
acknowledge his merits, and estimate or oppose his 
imperfections. More suavity, perhaps, more flex- 
ibility, a greater disposition to assent to opposi- 
tion, without the stern permission of truth and con- 
science, might have been agreeable to those, who 
look only on the surface of a character. But our 
departed brother did not purchase any n\an's 
friendship, at the price of dissimulation. On all 
occasions he threw out the truth ; and left it to 
take its effect. He did not come with supplica- 
tion and cringes, to ask permission to creep through 
the path of duty ; but he boldly walked up to the 
entrance and demanded a passage. 

" Every minister, and every man, has his pe- 
culiar gift 5 and it is vain to expect to blend incon- 
sistent qualities in the same mind. The virtues 



XVI BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE. 

themselves, though in theory consistent enough 
with one another, are not always consistent with 
the peculiarities of even a virtuous individual. 
Mr. Williams was more formed for a reprover than 
a consoler ; the chamber of affliction was not, per- 
haps, his most shining scene. He bore his own 
trials with too much fortitude fully to enter into 
the weakness and fears of the mind, enfeebled by 
sickness and trembling on the verge of eternity. 
He was certainly not the man whom you would 
wish to see in any affliction which you had brought 
on yourself by your own infirmity ; for he would 
not spare you. He insisted on it, that repentance 
must go before consolation. 

" As for that sentimental religion, so prevalent 
in the present day, which consists in the fumes of 
the imagination rather than in the solid exercises 
of the heart ; which regulates its hopes and fears 
by every elevation and depression of the spirits 5 
the blind impulse ; the affected sigh 5 the fair pro- 
fession, and ostentatious humility, he held them all 
in utter abhorrence. He could not tolerate, for a 
moment, the religion, which separates the feelings 
of the heart from the conduct and the life. He 
demanded of all professed christians a piety, which 
proved its power by crucifying the flesh, with its 
affections and lusts. He seemed to be a man pe- 
culiarly calculated to brush away, with a bold 
hand, all the froth and foam, which too often rest 
on the waters of the Sanctuary 5 and to show to 
the church of God, pure religion, defecated from 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE* XVil 

every sediment, in all its transparency and simpli- 
city and truth. 

" Yet he did not pass to the other extreme. In 
burning with the fire of his eloquence, the wood, 
the hay and the stubble of imperfect doctrine, he 
spared, with the wisest discrimination, the gold 
and the silver and the precious stones, with which 
it must be combined, Deeply impressed with the 
truth of man's depravity, and conscious that the 
doctrines of the cross were the only cure, he 
preached them without partiality and without fear. 
He felt that the sinner was undone, because he 
found in the Bible that the Saviour was divine. 

" Respecting his abilities — a subject of minor 
importance in this connexion — every discriminat- 
ing judge must come to the same conclusion. 
His executive powers in the pulpit were of the 
first order. You all remember that melodious 
voice that fastened the ear to his theme ; that 
beautiful language, those shining illustrations, 
that energy and earnestness, with which he cap- 
tivated the attention, and bore down on the 
heart. He was an eloquent man and mighty in 
the scriptures. Without being a finished schol- 
ar, his mind was enriched with knowledge ; with- 
out being a metaphysician, he was a powerful, 
practical reasoner. Though his style was occa- 
sionally obscure, (the first objection which was 
always made to it by the critick) he never, per- 
haps, preached a sermon which did not make, on an 
attentive hearer, the intended impression. His ser- 



Xviii BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE. 

mom were so full, that after all the obscure parts 
were lost, enough remained to satisfy and improve 
the mind. 

" The faults of his character were such as are 
commonly associated with the great qualities of 
which I have been speaking. He had great cour- 
age and decision ; and something of that indiscre- 
tion to which these virtues naturally lead. Sin- 
gling out his ultimate purpose, and conscious of the 
rectitude of his intentions, he did not always con- 
sider the inferior obstacles that stood in his way. 
An enemy might say he was sometimes rash 5 but 
his intimate friends knew, that his seeming rash- 
ness was ardour in the cause of religion and truth. 
His mind commonly rushed to its purposes ; but 
those purposes were generally such as a good man 
would not be ashamed to own. If his superficial 
faults sometimes procured for him furious enemies 5 
his real excellence always sealed to him the at- 
tachment of the warmest friends. He was not a 
man to make a neutral impression. 

"His closing scene illustrated the power of faith, 
and the consolations of those truths, which it had 
been his business to preach. It fell to my lot to 
announce to him the probability of his speedy dis- 
solution, and the importance of saying to his 
friends and family whatever he might wish to say, 
before reason was lost. The tidings were receiv- 
ed with calmness and submission 5 and soon after 
he said to a friend — I have not had during my sick- 
ness the power of regulating my thoughts as I 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE. 



xix 



eould wish : it has been a confused and broken 
time but I see in the gospel a broad foundation ,• 
I trust in my Saviour alone ; the purposes of God 
are right, and I have no wish to alter them. On 
another occasion he said : — When a man is brought 
into my state — into sickness and a near prospect 
of eternity, he needs faith, decided faith § the mind 
must not be left wavering, doubtful, uncertain ; it 
must not only see that the gospel is true, but it 
must repose with living confidence on the promises 
of the Redeemer. Under these impressions his 
spirit took its flight to its Father and God. 

" Farewell, my Brother, I will not say a long- 
farewell — Thy last solemn message still vibrates 
on my ears.* Very pleasant has thy life been to me; 
we took sweet counsel together and walked to the 
house of God in company. Speak to me by thy 
death ; admonish me from thy tomb, and urge my 
conscience to work while the day lasts. And now r , 
eternal Saviour, receive him to thyself— with all 
his virtues and all his faults ; those virtues, we 
trust, were the fruit of thy Spirit ; and those faults, 
we humbly hope, are now washed away in thine 
atoning blood ! 

" To the bereaved widow, and the mourning fa- 
mily, we have no other consolations to offer than 
those suggested by our subject. May they have 

*This alludes to a message which the speaker received from the deceas- 
ed a few days before his departure. It was this : — Enjoy what you can, 
do all the good you can, while life lasts ; for the days must come, as 1 
have found from experience, when you shall say I have no pleasure in 
them. His sickness was languishing and painful: 



XX 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE. 



faith in God 5 and let the children remember their 
father's counsel now that he can speak to them no 
more. To the church the loss is great. The 
faithful pastor — the counsellor — the upright man is 
gone ! and can warn and lead them no more. But 
fear not, mourning flock — the Great Shepherd 
reigns ; and has promised never to leave nor for- 
sake his people. But I must speak to one class 
more — the sinner, who has no faith in Christ. 
Your reprover is dead — he never can speak to you 
again. But you must meet him at the bar of God. 
He will rise up to bear his testimony to the faith- 
ful manner, in which he warned you to flee from 
the wrath to come. Has he spoken in vain ? Are 
you yet in your sins ? Dare you be a rebel before 
that coffin ? O ! remember the warnings of the 
lips that are now silent ; and prepare to meet him 
when the last trumpet shall wake the dead !" 



SERMON I. 



A COMPENDIUM OF THE GOSPEL. 

Mark, xvi. 15. 
Preach the Gospel to every creature. 

It is now about eighteen hundred and twenty years 
since there appeared in the Eastern World, a person of sin- 
gular dignity, and of uncommon wisdom and disinterested- 
ness, calling himself the Son of God. His avowed object 
was, to enlighten and redeem the moral world. This person 
was, from the beginning, attended with such uncommon 
signs, and endowed with such extraordinary gifts, as could 
not fail to draw upon him the attention of all the people. 
Yet such was his modest}', and indifference to personal ag- 
grandizement, that nothing seemed farther from his heart 
than a desire "to be seen of men." He exhibited nothing 
of a spirit of emulation, nor affected the parade and glory 
of human greatness. All the supernatural works which he 
performed, and all which were wrought by the Father in his 
behalf, were merely attestations to his superior excellence, or 
vouchers to the truth of his pretensions. As he assumed 
the character of the Messiah, he appealed to the Prophets, 
who had testified of him, whose writings were in the hands 
of the people, and whose descriptions might be easily com- 
1 



2 



SERMON L 



pared with the life he exhibited. The manner of his com- 
ing, the prodigies which should attend and follow him, the 
works he should perform, and the death he should die, were 
all foretold. He, and no other, answered the inspired de- 
scription of the Messiah. He taught with authority hitherto 
unknown. He commanded with unheard-of effect. The 
powers of the natural and moral world alike obeyed him. 
For this, though unknown by all, and envied and hated by 
the Prince and the Priest, he was able to engage the affec- 
tions and procure the company of a chosen few. These he 
called Disciples, and trained them up in the knowledge and 
love of his kingdom. They had left all to attend and 
follow him, and were soon to be invested, by him, with pow- 
ers similar, but subordinate, to his own, and to be made the 
vehicles of his communications to all the world. 

The writings of his Disciples, dictated under an influence 
precluding the possibility of mistake, give an account of his 
character and business ; — his whole design concerning our 
guilty and miserable world : and these constitute what he 
calls the Gospel, or the good tidings from heaven to men. 
The system of religion here taught, is eminently the good 
news, inasmuch as the holiness and hope of every rational 
inhabitant of the globe, have their only basis in the truths of 
this revelation, and man's way to Divine knowledge no other 
sufficient and effectual guide. 

When about to separate himself from his little family, in 
order to secure the end of his life, he gave them the charge 
in the text. Addressing them officially, and therefore their 
successors in office, he solemnly and authoritatively required 
them to communicate these tidings to all nations, and pledged 
himself to continue the Christian Ministry to the end of the 
world. 

To shew you, that what is here called the Gospel, or 
good news, is pre-eminently entitled to this appellation, and 
therefore worthy of universal acceptance, is the object of 



SERMON I. 



this discourse. This will be accomplished by a compendi- 
ous account of what the Gospel is : — and to render the sub- 
ject as simple as possible, and easy to be remembered, I 
shall consider the whole testimony of Christ and his Apostles 
as being comprised in a Doctrine — a Command— an Invi- 
tation — -a Promise — and a Threat. 

I. The Doctrine of the Gospel, — which is, — that "Jesus 
Christ came into the world to save sinners." This is, em- 
phatically, the peculiar Doctrine of the books of the New 
Testament. For though there are many other doctrinal 
truths contained in them, yet this, thoroughly understood, 
will be found to include them all. — This is the grand truth 
announced by the angel at the Nativity. " Behold I bring 
you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people : 
for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, 
who is Christ the Lord." — This is the Messiah, "whose 
goings forth have been from everlasting," and of whose na- 
ture and office and object, testimony is borne in Moses and 
the Prophets and the Psalms. 

1. In this Doctrine then, is implied, first, the ruined 
state of man. The Wisdom and Goodness of a God could 
never be employed in providing a Saviour for the innocent ; — 
nor for the guilty, if able to succor and recover themselves. 
That is, for men, who have either deserved well, or who, 
though z7Z-deserving, are in a capacity for restoration to 
righteousness and peace. To put them in a capacity for 
salvation — to expiate their guilt — to recover them to holi- 
ness, and, in this way, to honor and happiness — was the 
grand object of Christ's embassy to earth. This is his own 
account of it. " The Son of Man is come to seek and to 
save that which was lost." His name denotes his object — 
"his name shall be called Jesus, because he shall save his 
people from their sins." Thus to be saved, is to be deliv- 
ered alike from the miseries of a polluted nature, and a 
guilty and condemned state. — From all the evils indeed, 



4 



SERMON I. 



which, since the expulsion of man from Paradise, have pour- 
ed in one unbroken torrent on the world, and deluged moun- 
tain and valley, island and continent alike, with iniquity and 
woe. 

2. In the second place, this Doctrine implies an ampli- 
tude and sufficiency, in Jesus Christ, to save unto the .utter- 
most all that cordially receive him — a power^ adequate to 
the subjugation of every enemy of man's peace and virtue — 
an adaptedness of official virtue, to supply every moral 
want, and relieve every spiritual infirmity — and wisdom as 
extensive as his power, to remove all the obstacles to recon- 
ciliation between God and man. Obstacles, on the part of 
God, presented by the sanction of his law, requiring the 
death of its every transgressor — a sanction, which the honor 
of his government, and the immutability of his perfections, 
required him to maintain. Obstacles, on the part of man, 
found in the impotence of his understanding to find a way of 
escape, and the inveterate opposition of his will to returning 
to God in any way. To remove the obstacle, on the part of 
God, it was necessary to vindicate the perfections of God, 
in his denunciations against the transgressor. To remove 
the obstacles on the part of man, it was equally necessary 
to secure an influence upon his heart which should transform 
it into the love and likeness of the Divine law. To vindicate 
the Divine perfections, and establish the law, the proper 
wages of sin must be paid, and the curse inflicted. The 
Messiah must bear in his own person the iniquities of us all, 
and thus furnish an expression of God's displeasure against 
sin, while he pardons the sinner ; and an affecting and pow- 
erful motive to all who return to their allegiance, never 
more by transgression to move his displeasure, or to incur 
the penalty of his broken law. 

It was necessary that a Mediator should have power to 
enlighten human ignorance, in respect of the character and 
counsels of the kingdom ; and grace to stoop to our infirm- 



SERMON L 



6 



ities, that he might illustrate and magnify, in all eyes, the 
principles of the Divine Government, expose the evil of sin, 
and exemplify, in man's nature, the excellence of the precep- 
tive will of God. To all these purposes, the Messiah was 
found equal, and in the office of a Teacher and Sacrifice, a 
Potentate and Sanctifier, became the author of salvation to 
all them who obey him. " Great is this mystery of Godli- 
ness." " God was manifest in the flesh," according to the 
testimony of the evangelist John, and as such, was "preach- 
ed unto the Gentiles" by the Apostles, and " believed on, in" 
every age of " the world." He is the source of life — " the 
bread of God." In him the hope of the sinner commences 
its purifying and animating course, and to him all the ends 
of the earth look for salvation. Had God exacted of man 
even one stone, in the foundation of his spiritual house, the 
temple to this day had been a ruin. But salvation is of the 
Lord. He is the great corner-stone of the edifice, whose 
whole foundation was laid, whose superstructure has been 
reared, and whose top-stone is to be brought forth, in accla- 
mations of rich and infinite grace. 

JI. But secondly, the Gospel has a Command : and as all 
its Doctrines are involved in the one truth we have examin- 
ed, so all its precepts are comprehended in this one com- 
mandment of God — " that ye believe on him whom he hath 
sent." Faith, working by love, is the evangelical Law, by 
obedience to which, all flesh may be saved. This is " good 
tidings" to a world under a Law, requiring the death of its 
every transgressor. Good news indeed — that God can 
" be just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth in 
Jesus." — Since, " what the Law could not do in that it was 
weak, through the flesh," the Gospel has achieved. < For 
now there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ 
Jesus ; the law of the spirit of life having freed them from 
the law of sin and death.' Freed already from guilt, they 
are destined to perfect freedom from corruption, and shall 



6 



SERMON I. 



ultimately inherit every good comprised in the promise of 
mercy unto salvation. 

III. The Gospel, in the third place, contains an Invita- 
tion. "Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water 
of life freely." This invitation is universal. No nation, 
nor men of any rank or condition, are forbidden the privi- 
lege. " To every creature" the commission to preach the 
Gospel, extends. " In the last day, that great day of the 
feast, Jesus stood and cried, if any man thirst let him come 
unto me and drink." " And the Spirit and the Bride say 
come, and Jet all who are interested say come, and whosoever 
will, let him come, and take the water of life freely." O 
wretched heathens ! who have wasted all your intellectual, 
physical and moral powers, upon " cisterns which can hold 
no water," what cheering tidings shall these be to you ! 
What to your nation, miserable Jew ! Tired of your disap- 
pointments from lying prophets and seers, of a Saviour to 
come — what joyful tidings will they shortly be to you ? 
And you, miserable worldling, of christian name ! — when 
in the light of the spirit of truth, you shall behold your 
needs and your interest in the invitation — what overwhelm- 
ing gladness will these tidings be to you! And what, at last, 
to all who welcome cordially and duly prize this Gospel, 
will be the delights of that banquet which has been spread 
by redeeming love ! 

IV. For the answer, take the fourth part. The Promise 
of the Gospel. "An entrance shall be ministered to you 
abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ — I will give you rest." How sweet to 
the weary traveller, the man of active business, the sick 
man's aching frame, the galley slave, and the victim of op- 
pression, is the period of deliverance. Yet how soon is 
every man's resting season over ! But the christian's rest is 
an eternal day. 'Tis not cessation from toil and trial 
merely — but from the galling servitude and disgraceful 



SERMON I. 



•7 



drudgery of sin. 'Tis the termination of darkness and ap- 
prehension and doubt, and sorrow and temptation and con- 
flict. 'Tis the jubilee of nations. — The rest of Jehovah's 
kingdom, from the war which has kept it in commotion, 
from the day of the apostacy in heaven. 'Tis the day of 
final separation, between the friends of God, and the princi- 
palities and powers and thrones and dominions, which have 
assailed his people and opposed Messiah's reign. 'Tis a 
rest, comprehensive of all the enjoyment of a prospective 
eternity of increasing knowledge, holiness and joy. 'Tis a 
" being filled with the fulness of God." In contrast with 
man's vassalage, and an imprisoned state of the spirit, it is 
liberty. — In opposition to the tendency of our present exist- 
ence, it is immortality. — Compared with the deformity and 
imperfection of the Church on earth, it is purity and glory. 
" All things," says this evangelical promise, " are yours.'" — 
' Life, death, the world, the goods of the rich, the gifts of the 
wise, things present and tilings to come.' To all who re- 
ceive the Doctrine, obey the Command, accept the Invita- 
tion, the Promise is made sure. It leads them with ac- 
ceptance, while here, to a Throne of Grace, and hereafter, 
to a crown of unfading glory. This — sinful heart ! this, is 
to be saved. And that the heirs of the promise " who have 
fled for refuge and laid hold on the hope set before them in 
the Gospel, might have strong consolation, God has con- 
firmed that promise by oath :" so that by two immutable 
securities they have, made over to them, all that God can 
grant, compatible with the retention of his supremacy, and 
all that man can desire, while possessing only a limited 
capacity. 

If this bethe Gospel, well do we, Christian Brethren, glory 
only in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ — and though we 
have not seen him, though it doth not yet appear what we 
shall be when awaked in his likeness, yet believing in him. 
we may well rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory ! 



S SERMON I. 

V. But in the last place, the Gospel contains a Threat, 
and this completes the evidence, as well as the description of 
its evangelical excellence. The Threat is terrible ; and to 
an eye of flesh does not readily suggest the consistency or 
connection between the several parts of these good tidings : 
and perhaps this appendage may excite a doubt whether the 
Gospel be quite deserving of the appellation by which it 
commends itself to men. But what is the Threat ? Be not 
alarmed — contrite spirit I it was never designed to distress 
the broken heart. Be not high minded — unbeliever ! it will 
be executed with palpable justice on thee, except thou art 
willing to be saved. He who denies the Doctrine, diso- 
beys the Command, refuses the Invitation, disregards the 
Promise, and is unmoved by the Threat, he, and he surely 
" shall be damned" — that is, according to inspired explana- 
tion, " shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the 
presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power." This 
you will observe is not the language of the Law only, but of 
the Gospel. Not of unmixed justice merely, but of Justice 
looking on the world with the eyes of Grace, Of Grace, in 
the first place to all who hear the Gospel. Of Grace, in the 
second place, to all who shall be ultimately benefited by the 
Gospel ; and therefore of Grace, thirdly, to the Universe as 
a whole. 

Strange as it may appear, this very menace is, by the Apos- 
tle, stated to be an act of Grace to all who hear the Gospel. 
And none but unbelievers will dissent from this sentiment : 
for none but unbelievers are determined to reject salvation ; 
and therefore none others have any selfish interest, to bias 
them to such dissent. But even unbelievers themselves, 
may possibly be persuaded that the Threat, awful and * 
severe as it is, proceeds from compassion toward them, so 
far as it has a tendency to evince the absolute necessity of 
a change of purpose and pursuit, and of exciting them to 
mquire after the w ay of escape. That such is its tendency. 



SERMON t 



9 



we are authorized to say — for in sacred language we have 
observed that by the terrors of the Lord men have been 
persuaded. And though it has ever been the language of 
the thoughtless and profane, as well as of some visionary 
theologians, 4 we are neither to be driven to heaven, nor, 
frighted into a course of evangelical virtue yet should they 
ever touch the skirts of that virtue, or find the gate to 
heaven, this Threat will have had some influence in ren- 
dering that touch desirable— some instrumentality in per- 
suading them to escape from death. 

God did not act without design in revealing his wrath 
from heaven, against all unrighteousness and ungodliness 
in men : and what it is not weakness in God to reveal, 
it is no virtue nor wisdom in man to disbelieve. Who- 
ever believes him sincere in the Threat, will be influ- 
enced by his belief ; for faith is an actuating power, and 
embraces the whole testimony of God. And should so 
important a part of his testimony have no influence on 
the heart ? And is it not gracious in God to attempt 
fo moye us, by every motive which can touch the springs 
of human action ? And if destruction actually impends, 
is it not kind to give the warning as well as provide the 
way ok escape ? And if we hear the note of danger, is it 
unmanly or unwise to be alarmed and flee ? — Or is it great- 
ness and courage, for a little puny thing, like man, to defy 
the Almighty's Thunders ; and boast of bravery in com- 
bating the strength of an Omnipotent arm ? As if Jehovah 
would not stoop to consume the briars arrayed against him, 
by so insignificant an enemy — or, as if even he were too 
weak to make a sinner tremble. 'Tis grace in God to 
speak in every tongue of entreaty and of admonition, of 
threatening and of promise, and he is in the grossest sense 
* { a fool," who is not moved, when he hears the voice, to 
turn and live. 

But admit that there are men hardy enough to laugh at 
2 



I© 



SERMON I. 



his terrors, and to mock when his fear has not yet come-— 
Admit that there are hearts so obdurate, as to contemn alike 
the tender and the terrible, and to sin on in defiance both of 
mercy and of vengeance — Is it not an act of the highest 
compassion to the rest of the universe, to gather such out 
from among the just, and bind them down to a condition 
where they can no more annoy the heritage of God, and 
no more offend by their blasphemies, nor interrupt forever 
the pleasures of the pure in heart ? Is there any other way, 
to secure the peace, and preserve, uncontaminated, the vir- 
tue of his kingdom ? In omitting to do this, how is he to 
fulfil his promises to the redeemed ? How is he to shield 
from outrage, and fulfil his covenant with, his Son ? How, 
in short, is he to do justice to those perfections, which his 
truth is pledged to exonerate from the imputations with 
which the incorrigible continues practically to tax them ? In a 
word, without doing all this, before the sun, how far short will 
he have come, of consummating the glories of his kingdom ! 

It seems hardly possible, that the intelligent hearer should 
not perceive, that the glory of God's name and kingdom, 
requires alike the publication and execution of this Threat; 
and if so, that it is fitly comprehended in those tidings which 
angels, and the spirits of good men, proclaim and echo back 
with gladness, and whose fruits they will ever contemplate 
with ineffable delight. To the prisoners of despair, it cannot 
be good tidings. Prisoners of hope, however, as we are, it 
should not grieve. 

Tell me, I pray you, if you do not rejoice, when, after 
having been cruelly oppressed and trodden down by inso- 
lence and malice, and your best friends having undeservedly 
suffered with you from men who have " felt power and for- 
gotten right" — you see that power restrained, that will to 
inflict such wrongs, confined by proper authority, and ren- 
dered harmless to society ? And why not thus judge of the 
Government of God ? Is not his the proper authority ? 



SERMON I. 



H 



Will he not as accurately apportion punishment to crime ? 
Why then, may it not be esteemed good news, not that 
others suffer, but that their power to cause suffering is 
abridged ? That a day is coming which shall put an end 
to the mischiefs of sin, and to the power of those who hurt 
and offend — a day which shall liberate Jehovah's kingdom 
from evil — when the oppressor shall cease and the vile man 
no more speak villainy, and the scourge be wrested out of 
the hand of the malignant — a day in which the faithfulness ' 
of God, as his patience has already been, shall be made to 
excel in glor} 7 , and his goodness be relieved from the charge 
of indifference to sin. Is not all this necessary to the pre- 
vention of crime, to the safety of the virtuous, and to the 
glory of him who has borne, and will ever bear, the sceptre of 
the worlds ? And, if he who would secrete the assassin, and 
rescue the public robber from the hands of justice, does but 
excite against himself the indignant sentiments of a virtuous 
community — how far short of genuine benevolence to God's 
kingdom, must we fall, to account it an unrighteous thing in 
God, " when he shall come to be glorified in his saints and 
admired in all them that believe," to rescue his people from 
the contamination and injuries of a guilty world ! 

It is in view of the retributions of that day, that Jesus 
Christ bids his disciples cultivate the virtues of passive 
courage — forbearance, patience, fortitude, meekness. — It is 
because such a day is appointed, that he bids us bear the 
scoff and jest and strife of tongues, and unresistingly take 
wrong, and receive outrage with christian meekness. 
" Dearly beloved" — is the argument — " avenge not your- 
selves — vengeance is mine — I will repay." The righteous 
leave the retribution of the wicked to that day — and not- 
withstanding, love his appearing. Let us not then with arro- 
gance such as approaches that of Eden's seducer, affect to 
surpass in our mercifulness, the great God himself, whose 
nature is love, and rear our claim to benevolence on a sup- 



SERMON f. 



position, which subverts the integrity and kindness of Jeho- 
vah's throne. — While we adore the grace, let us not disjoin 
it from the truth which came by Jesus Christ. 

If now it has been made out to your conviction, hearer — 
as was proposed in the beginning — that the testimony of 
Jesus Christ, called the " good tidings," is preeminently 
entitled to this appellation ; then, in the name of its blessed 
author, why do you not receive and welcome it to your 
hearts ? What barrier is there between that heart and salva- 
tion ? If you like the Gospel — if it be not in pretence merely, 
but in truth good tidings to your ear — if the Doctrine be 
such as you believe and love — the Command not grievous — 
the Invitation such as you dare not refuse — and if, of eon- 
sequence, you embrace and rest upon the Promise — and 
acquiesce in the Threat — then, I repeat it, what barrier is 
there between the heart and salvation ? No other salvation 
is offered, no other possible to a sinner. And Jesus Christ 
came, and laboured, and died, and revived for a very differ- 
ent end from that you covet, if you desire any other ! 

The view then which we have taken of the Gospel, if sub- 
stantially correct, settles the question, for each of u s, whether 
there exists at this time, a controversy between him and 
God. Whether Jesus Christ, by the Gospel, has effected a 
reconciliation between the Father and his heart ; or whether 
God and he be still at variance. Nor can the question be 
fairly evaded — for Christ himself has already decided the 
previous question, whether a man may, at the same time, 
love the Father and make no terms with the Son, by saying 
peremptorily, — " he that hateth me, hateth my Father 
also." What then must be the depravity of his heart and 
how certainly is he in a state of condemnation, who does not 
love the Gospel ! 



II 



ESTIMATE OP THE WORLD'S MORALITY. 

Mark, x. 21. 

Jesus beholding him, loved him ; and said unto him. One thing 
thou lackest. 

The case stated in the narrative of which this passage i& 
a part, is a case of every week's occurrence. It is the case 
of thousands who are this day before the altar of God — of 
every man, who, instead of asking life, in the humble and 
fervent spirit of the publican, comes running to Jesus with 
the self-righteous enquiry — "What lack I yet?" 

It is a case, however, which demonstrates, that a man's 
character may be of very fair exterior, while utterly destitute 
of goodness in the eye of God. That he may be able to say, 
in fancied sincerity, when the commandments are read to 
him, " all these things have I kept from my youth up," and 
still possess that temper, and abide under that condemna- 
tion, which exclude a man from the kingdom of heaven. 
Nay, that in all his manifestations, he may appear to de- 
serve the approbation, and love of mankind, and still lack 
the one thing, for want of which, this young man was re- 
proved of his Lord, and sent away sorrowing. 

But the case before us, furnishes another thought, not un- 
worthy of consideration. It involves the sentiment, that the 



14 



SERMON II. 



moral excellence, recommended and enjoined in the two ta- 
bles of the law, is so consummate, that, to a good heart, its 
very appearance is captivating ; and that such a heart will 
bear testimony to this truth, by throwing around the subject 
of seeming loveliness the arms of its warmest affection. This 
is the natural operation of that "charity" which "hopeth all 
things," not forbidden by evidence, and of which Jesus 
Christ is, in all his conduct, so excellent a model. He saw 
in this young man the appearance of such excellence, and no 
sooner did he behold it, than he " loved him." 

But the same charity which carried Christ such a length 
on the one hand, moved him on the other, to put the moral- 
ity of the youth to the proof — to bring these appearances to 
the touchstone, by which Christian morality and this world's 
righteousness are distinguished : and thus to give practical 
evidence, that the same " charity" which " hopeth all things, 
rejoiceth" only "in the truth" 

We can do no better service for those who sustain the 
same character with this man, than to hold up this test be- 
fore them ; that in this mirror they may see, there is " one 
thing" wanting in their morality, and that with all their 
loveliness, in our eye, as well as their own, the defect of that 
one destroys their title to the kingdom of heaven. 

Let them observe then, that the subject of our contempla- 
tion was one of the world's best men — as perfect an exhibi- 
tion of the virtue of unsanctified hearts, as poor human na- 
ture ever made ; as perfect at least/ as ever fell under our 
observation. The claim of this man to goodness, was as 
well founded, as that of any one, whose righteousness is of 
the law, and of the will of the flesh, rather than of God : 
and yet, he was the subject of Christ's condemnation. His 
claim to the character of an innocent man — a good man, 
was as well supported as that of any youth unborn of the 
Spirit, and yet, as appears in the sequel, his righteousness, 
when brought to the test of forsaking all and following 



SERMON IL 



0hrist, proved to be founded in mere selfishness. His in- 
nocence involved idolatry, and his goodness, brought into 
the light of the sun, was transient "as the morning cloud, 
and the early dew." If it were indeed so, and our youth 
have no other ground of acceptance with God ; and our old 
men, a righteousness which can no better bear the test — 
then, a nation of such men might have been crowded into 
Sodom, and not have had righteousness enough to have 
delivered the city. 

The imaginary triumph, therefore, which the world's moral 
man enjoys over the Christian, whose appearance may some- 
times be more exceptionable, is altogether premature. He 
forgets the principle established by our Lawgiver, that it is 
very possible a man may seem to have kept the law "from 
his youth up," and yet have nothing of the righteousness by 
which a sinner is justified. He forgets too, in taking to 
himself the honors of such a triumph over the fallen Da- 
vid, and Noah, and Moses, that God acknowledges for them, 
a righteousness, in which he has no interest, and a righteous- 
ness in them, of which he has not a tittle; and that while 
they stand on a foundation which will survive the wreck of 
time, and which the tempest of the great day of God's 
wrath cannot shake, his boasted edifice is built upon the 
sand. He should have suspended his triumph, till he had 
demonstrated the error of the inspired sentiment, that he 
who builds his hope on the righteousness of the law, can 
sustain the ground of that hope only by showing, that 
against this law, he has never, even in one point, offended — 
since, if he has transgressed only one of the least of the com- 
mandments, God will reckon him guilty of all. Comparing, 
then, the rebuke in the text, with this decision, instead of 
glorying in his virtue, we should hear him exclaiming, with 
Isaiah — " I am undone, for I am a man of unclean lips !" 
Or saying with Paul, " O wretched captive of sin ! who shall 



16 



SERMON II. 



deliver me | M We should see him, with the man ofUz, sitting ill 
sackcloth and self-abhorrence — repenting in dust and ashes. 

We have now come to the point on which, the question 
we are to settle, principally turns. We, do not hesitate to 
admit, that this man's morality has in it an appearance of 
loveliness. We do not mean to detract an iota from the 
distinction, to which the honest man is entitled, over the 
knave — the beneficent and good tempered man, over the 
churl — the man of truth and sobriety over the drunkard, 
glutton and common liar, and the decorous in speech and 
manners over the wanton and profane. — We do not mean 
to say, that there is not deservedly ; a very broad line of dis- 
tinction, between the palpable sabbath breaker, and him 
who seems to regard the day to the Lord — between the 
parent, provident of all the means of temporal comfort, and 
eternal happiness for his household, and the parent, careless 
and negligent of their present and future good — between 
frugality and profligacy, compassion and hardheartedness, 
between the man who follows, and him who refuses to fol- 
low the dictates of his own conscience — between an exterior 
habitually fair and its opposite. But the question is, whether 
in the measurement of this morality, by the standard either 
of Moses, or of Christ, it amounts to righteousness °l — w hether 
either in the scales of truth and grace, or of law, it is right? 
This is the only question. — For if it is not, if it come not 
up to one or the other of these standards, it is not righteous- 
ness at all ; and the one character is as far from the Divine 
acceptance as the other. 

The claim we are now examining is under the Law alone; 
and if this morality is, in all respects, such as the law demands, 
then, its subject not only stands acquitted of sin, in the 
judgment of his fellow creatures, but wants nothing to enti- 
tle him to justification in the eye of his God. — But if it have 
one defect, in spirit^ matter ov form, then, for whatever else 
it may be valued, it is utterly worthless for justification. 



SERMON II. 



17 



Should it be found, however, instead of a defect in measure, 
to want the very nature of righteousness — if in fact it be but 
a finely polished, and well dressed statue— -a body without a 
soul — then, it is obvious, the claim of its subject is lost, and 
his expectation of acceptance for the loveliness of his moral* 
ity, perishes at once. 

Now Jesus Christ has taught us that this is the case : for 
while he affirms that the law demands all the soul, he shows 
that this man's keeping of the law had no soul in it ; and that 
his heart and his morality looked to very different objects. 
The one, had the appearance of the righteousness of the law, 
the other, went after its covetousness, and was therefore a 
palpable violation of the law. But Christ assures us, that 
the very spirit of the law, that without which we cannot ap- 
proach the righteousness it demands — is the very thing 
which this young man's morality wanted ; and that without 
this one thing, though he were an angel for knowledge, a 
saint in compassion, and a very martyr in his sacrifices, he 
would still be nothing before God. Hear hew the Lord of 
the conscience has summed up the duties of the ten com- 
mandments of the law. " Thou shalt love the Lord thy 
God, with all thy heart, and with all thy strength, and with 
all thy mind, and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 
Do this, and thou shalt live." Have you found virtue such 
as this, in the morality which this world's best man has pro- 
duced ? Do you find such in the example before us ? On 
the contrary, Christ only puts it to the moderate proof of 
giving up its devotedness to earth, and leaving all for him, 
and, like the leaves of the fruitless fig tree, all its righteous- 
ness withers away. He did not demand of the young man, 
the relinquishment of any thing more than corruptible pos- 
sessions, in proof of his love to God, and yet, even this de- 
mand was greater than his morality could answer. This at 
once betrayed the object- of his supreme affection, and 
though it be of no consequence to the argument what that 
3 



is 



SERMON II. 



object is, so it be not Goo, it demonstrates the insufficiency 
of all morality which has not this religious principle for its 
basis. There was something he loved more than God ; and 
therefore, since supreme love to him is the least the law de- 
mands, and will ever accept, he was fairly convicted of a 
total destitution of the righteousness which he affected to 
have possessed from his youth. 

Does the salvation proposed in the Gospel, abrogate the 
law ? — Does it annul this principle of the law ? On the con- 
trary, it establishes it. It does indeed wave the measure of 
personal righteousness which the law exacts, but the nature 
of the moral excellence required by it — the principle of su- 
preme love to God — the spirit of the law — is retained, in 
the scheme of salvation by grace ; and, indeed, is the very 
thing to which the Gospel restores us. Therefore, as we 
are hereafter to show, the morality of this young man, was 
as unlike the righteousness required by the Gospel, as it was 
remote from that enjoined in the law. 

I am aware that there is something extremely mortifying, 
and even revolting to our natures, in being set down, in re- 
gard to justification, with pirates and prostitutes, and in 
taking rank, as regards legal obedience, with thieves and 
publicans, after we have been at the pains to avoid their 
crimes, and to adorn our lives with a graceful and accom- 
plished morality. But if it be an unquestionable verity, 
that our righteousness comes not up to the standard of 
Divine erection, and if it be no more of the nature of holi- 
ness than theirs, why may not the eye of God, without being 
evil, diseern the fact ? And why is it not just in God to give 
to all unrighteousness its own name, and its proper condem- 
nation ? If my alleged justice, have no other source, than 
that exactness of distribution which is observed among 
thieves and pirates, in the division of their plunder — if my 
compassion to my neighbor, have no higher character than 
that animal instinct which leads the herd to express the cries 



SERMON II 19 

of nature over one of its species in distress— and if my chas* 
tity, and my honor, have no more claim to a holy origin 
than the occasional virtues of the basest of mankind — why 
should not the God of truth, denounce my morality as un- 
righteousness, as well as their immorality, and consider us 
alike far from the obedience he demands ? 

Jesus Christ, w 7 e should remember, will hereafter be the 
Judge, as he is now the expositor, of his own laws. He 
declares the sixth commandment violated by my causeless 
anger, as truly as by my neighbor's murderous knife : and 
the seventh, as certainly by my libidinous thoughts, as by 
his practised arts at seduction : and the eighth, by my neg- 
lect to relieve my poor neighbor from distress, as by taking 
away the property of the rich. And though the crimes of 
my neighbor may be more obvious to men, and more gross 
even in the eye of God, yet Christ affirms my want of obe- 
dience unto righteousness, to be no less real, and my con- 
demnation no less certain and no less just, though my demerit 
be not of the same extent. So long then, as my morality 
extends not to the principle of the law, whether I feel or not, 
the necessity of a better religion, it is certain I have no more 
relish for it, and no more community in it, than the more 
abandoned. With all my reputed superiority to the more 
openly vicious, I should enjoy heaven no better than they, were 
I taken thither. With my present taste unamended, my con- 
versation would be turned to dumb inquietude ; my cheer- 
fulness to sadness ; and I could not say, with the children 
of the kingdom, " our communion is with the Father, and 
his son Jesus Christ." — My heart is not on the side of evan- 
gelical virtue. 1 am hostile to the principles of the law. 
The glory of God is not the ultimate end of my actions, and 
therefore my best works are wicked — and wicked works 
prove me the enemy of God. 

That there is no error in this reasoning, you will perceive 
by a due attention to the following facts. — You may find 



20 



SERMON II. 



all the virtues belonging to the morality in question, among 
one or another, of those classes of men, which we know to 
be excluded from the character of the righteous, and from 
the kingdom of heaven. The drunkard, for example, is 
often found to possess a liberal and friendly disposition. 
The avaricious man, though he do not possess this generous 
temper, is strictly temperate. The ambitious, is frequently 
the most condescending and courtly of men : and profane 
men are, not unfrequently, scrupulously exact in all their 
commercial intercourse. Yet all these are stricken indis- 
criminately from the list of good men, by the airection of 
God. Now as from one or another of these classes of un- 
godly men, we are able to gather every specific virtue which 
is found in the morality of the character under examination, 
and, as in all those men there is nothing of the nature of 
holiness, it is very easy to perceive, that their junction in the 
same man, alters not their nature, and can in no case consti- 
tute a holy creature. The basis of their virtue is the same, 
and the motives from which their morals flow, have the same 
character ; and if this man, combining all the excellence 
claimed by all the classes of men known to be excluded 
from God's kingdom, if this man, have no virtue, not found 
in some of them, then it is certain he has never passed the 
line which divides the carnal, from the spiritual world ; and 
" to be carnally minded is death." 

If there be no sophistry in all this, (and if there be, we 
must abandon some part of the Word of God) — then the 
morality of the man who loves and serves the creature, more 
than the Creator, and yet unbiushingly asks, " what lack I 
yet," has nothing in it of the righteousness which the law of 
God enjoins. His unrighteousness is manifest, and " we 
know that all unrighteousness is sin." He does not lack 
" the form," but he wants the " power of godliness," and 
without this our most specious actions are unholy. While 
selfishness pervades all his motives, and is in truth the soul 



SERMON IL 



21. 



of his morality, a man's visible actions may be through life a 
fac-simile of the visible actions of Jesus Christ, and his soul 
remain as far from righteousness unto justification, as that of 
the hollow-hearted disciple who betrayed him ; or as that 
of the Sanhedrim, who called him an impostor and hung 
him on a tree. 

Who does not perceive then, that the " one thing" want- 
ing in the morality of this amiable young man, was essential 
to righteonsness ? And who, pretending to reason and com- 
mon sense, does not know, that to lack any thing essential to 
righteousness, is to be destitute of righteousness altogether r 
This young man then, does not answer the inspired descrip- 
tion of a friend of God. He was not a disciple of Christ — he 
was not an heir of heaven. Every such man has the testimony 
of Christ that he pleases God. When therefore, the young 
ruler is brought to his bar, though he have the testimony of 
the whole world to the loveliness of his character, we see 
clearly that he must be condemned, because he has nothing 
of the righteousness which the law demands. 

Let us now examine the terms on which mankind are 
promised justification by the Gospel. Let us see if the 
same man, with all his embellishments, finds in this tent, a 
bed any better fitted to his length, or a covering, in which 
to wrap himself more securely, or a pillow on which he can 
repose in stronger assurance that his peace is made with 
God. 

He must have been inattentive to the language of the Gos- 
pel, or have entirely mistaken its meaning, who has not 
learned, that it requires a righteousness as perfect, as that re- 
quired by the law. The difference between the law and the 
Gospel is, the one requires personal righteousness without 
spot, the other accepts a vicarious righteousness of the same 
character, in a surety. Who has not seen the Apostle, lev- 
elling the whole artillery of Sinai, against the man, who 
goes about to establish his own righteousness, instead of 



22 SERMON II. 

submitting himself to the righteousness of God ! who has 
not heard, a hundred times, from the lips of Jehovah's 
messengers, that in the Lord, and not in works of law, man 
has righteousness and strength ; and that " there is salva- 
tion in no other !" — And who does not know, that this 
righteousness of Christ, is received and secured by faith 
alone, that God might be just, and the justifier of him that 
believeth in Jesus. In language plain and intelligible to 
every honest mind, it is settled, that faith is ever to be one 
condition of a sinner's salvation — That " he who believeth 
shall be saved ;" and that whoever can make good his claim 
to faith in Jesus Christ, is no longer under condemnation, but 
has " passed from death unto life." Now every child, who 
is able to put these thoughts together, must perceive, that 
God has abated nothing of his original demand on man, save 
that when the law was impotent to give life to the trans- 
gressor, God gave it to him through his Son; "that the 
righteousness of the law might thus be fulfilled in us, who 
walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit." Did not Je- 
sus Christ pass to the end of the law for righteousness, and 
bring in for the believer a ground of acceptance which can 
no more sink from beneath his feet ? And is it not explicitly 
declared, that to those who believe in him, " there is," for 
this cause, "no condemnation"? If then, righteousness 
come not by the law, and Christ died not in vain, then the 
believer is complete in him ; and by virtue of his obedience 
unto death, is as just before God, that is, as free from legal 
condemnation, as if he had personally fulfilled the law's de- 
mands. 

But, it is to be remembered, the faith which takes hold of 
the righteousness of Christ, is not a dead and barren specu- 
lation. It has the property of a living and restoring power. 
It puts into the morality of its subject, an animating and pu- 
rifying leaven, which raises the soul to God, and diffuses 
through the whole man the spirit of obedience. It subdues 



SERMON IL 



the dominion of that carnal mind, which does its works to 
be seen of men. It is a faith which works by love ; and 
which brings to the heart that great peace, which is expressly 
said to be characteristic of them who love the law ; that 
peace, which never fails to accompany spiritual-mindedness. 
It secures the life of the soul, by uniting it to Christ, and 
by ensuring that repentance from dead works, which is re- 
quisite to the acceptable service of the living God. So that 
instead of disparaging good works, as the doctrine- of justifi- 
cation by faith, is said by ignorant men to do, it is that one 
thing, essential to constitute any work a living sacrifice, ho- 
ly and acceptable to God. "Without me," said Jesus, " ye 
can do nothing" — " but he that believeth in me, hath life, 
and," continuing to believe, " shall never die." 

For all this, we have the warrant of God's word. But 
where has he said, if ye possess that heartless morality, 
which the infidel practices no less than you, that you shall 
be saved ? When did he say, and to whom did he say it — 
that to pass with reputation in the church, is enough to con- 
stitute you righteous in his sight ? Instead of this, he calls 
on every man to supply in himself that one essential thing, 
by denying himself, taking his cross, and following Christ. 
The young man, with all that loveliness of manners, and all 
that exemption from vice, and all that sterling integrity, 
with which men of the world compliment each other, could 
not endure this. The way of righteousness by the Gospel, 
as well as by the law, was too strait and too refined for 
him ; and more sober, but no better than before, he went 
away grieved, and unfit for the kingdom of heaven. The 
"author and finisher of the faith," could not call him his 
disciple as he ivas, and he would not be prevailed with to 
humble himself to the terms, by which alone, any sinner can 
attain to eternal life 

Now the grand defect of this man's morality was, that he 
loved something, (no matter what) more than God. Was 



24 



SERMON II. 



he not then unreconciled to the Law, which forbids man to 
love any thing more than God ? And was he not destitute, 
too, of the faith which Christ demands ? — the faith which 
works by love to that law, and overcomes the world — the 
world, ever idolized by the wicked ? How then, I pray you, 
did the Gospel help to prop up the wretched edifice, which 
tottered to its base at the thunders of the Law, and in the 
ruins of which, he would sooner be buried, than flee for re- 
fuge to the hope set before him in the Gospel ? 

Thus fatal to all this world's morality, are the precepts of 
the Law, and the Doctrines of Christ. If it fall on that 
rock, it is broken ; if it be fallen upon by this rock, it is 
ground into powder. He who builds upon such morality 
the hope of acceptance, virtually makes God such an one 
as himself; and he cannot, ought not, will not, bear from a 
creature — a sinful creature-^an indignity like this. The 
man who persists in offering him such an indignity, is, on the 
most favorable supposition, in a spiritual lethargy ; and the 
language addressed to him by Jesus Christ is, "Awake, thou 
that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and I will give thee 
light." "Young man! I say unto thee arise," and, no 
longer content in your conformity to this world, " be trans- 
formed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove 
what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." 

The morality we have contemplated, flows from a foun- 
tain, which has filled our world with confusion and misery. 
It is a morality, in view of whose source, the soul of Christ 
was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. It produced 
such a spectacle as shocked even Roman insensibility, and 
at which the sun, and stars, and rocks and graves, gave 
signs of mourning and wo. It is the morality of a Pharisee, 
which tithes mint, and annise and cummin, and neglects the 
weightier matters of Judgment and Faith, of Mercy and the 
love of God. It is a morality which stands erect in the 
midst of the Temple, and thanks God for its superior lustre, 



SERMON II. 



while draining Christ of his heart's-blood, and leaving it to 
Publicans, who make no such pretensions to legal righteous- 
ness, to avail themselves of that blood, and to go in upon it 
to the kingdom of heaven. All this notwithstanding, it is a 
morality with which many a sinner can lay down his head, 
and lull himself under the altar, and retire to his ordinary 
concerns, as fearless and inconsiderate of the wrath to come., 
as if it sealed his pardon, or placed him in the number of 
them who need no repentance, because they went never 
astray. This is a morality, unbeliever ! which you can 
practise, but which will have no advocate before the tribunal 
of Justice, where its deluded subject is soon to hear the last 
sentence the wicked will ever hear from the mouth of the 
living God. 

If, then, there be in this assembly a single soul, who has 
nothing better than this, in which to appear before Jesus 
Christ, and who, with self-complacency, can rush in his rags 
into the presence of his Judge, and demand of him, " what 
lack I yet ?" — I entreat that soul to consider, whether his be 
not exactly the condition of the man who, thinking himself 
to be something when he is nothing, deceiveth himself. And 
I beg of him, while he attempts to expound the enigma, that 
the " heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately 
wicked," instead of throwing away any thing which is lovely 
in his appearance, and instead of abandoning the form of 
right actions, only to withdraw his confidence from them, and 
to add to the right form, the infusion of that holy principle, 
which alone constitutes actions good, in the sight of God. 

And if there be any one among that sex, who have most 
of this native and acquired loveliness, and who are most sus- 
ceptible of flattery ; — if in short there be one, in this assem- 
bly, of any sex, or rank, or age, depending upon doings or 
appearances, such as flattered the hopes of the young ruler 3 
and who imagines because he is not grossly vicious, like 
others, that his heart is right with God — I beg him to see 
4 



26 



SERMON II. 



that the righteousness on which he so depends, is like the 
props and blockings of the ship upon the stocks, the very 
obstacle to her embarking on the element for which she was 
built; and that until this is loosed and swept away, and she 
be raised above it, however thoroughly her ways are smooth- 
ed, and however capacious, and noble, and sustaining the 
richest freight, she will be as far from answering the end 
of her existence, as if every timber were still standing in its 
native forest, and every bolt still lying in its native bed of 
ore : — And though, you put on all her tackle, and spread all 
her canvass, and give her all the breeze which would be 
necessary to bear her to her destined port, she will never 
move at all toward the haven. The artificer will have be- 
stowed the labor, and the proprietor incurred the expense in 
vain ; and all the expectations of the beholders will have 
been gotten up like this fair fabric of human device, only to 
perish on the stocks. 

Whoever, then, will escape so unwelcome, so intolerable 
a disappointment, let them seek first the kingdom of God 
and his righteousness. Let them imbibe the spirit of him, 
into whose gates they would enter, and in whose immortal 
pleasures and honors they would partake — for " if any mai» 
have not the sprit of Christ, he is none of his." 



SERMON IIL 



©BEDIENCE ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION* 

Revelation, xxii. 14. 

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may hav$ 
right to the tree of life, and may enter in though the gates 
into the city. 

ThERE would be little cause for apprehension that there 
are few chosen to salvation, might every one who saith Lord, 
Lord, enter into the kingdom of heaven. Crowded to over- 
flowing, would be the mansions of the just, might the claim 
to acceptance be universally acknowledged, " we have eaten 
and drunk in thy presence, and prophesied in thy name, 
and in thy name done many wonderful works." But, 
amidst the immense diversity of foundations on which men 
build their hopes, there is only one which will stand ; and 
among all the variety of evidence relied upon, that they are 
building on that foundation, there is but one species of proof 
which will be admitted in the court of heaven. The founda- 
tion of hope, is the atonement ofChrist ; the evidence of be- 
ing built on that foundation, is obedience to Christ. 

It is not then the man, who in a vision or a trance, has 
been caught up to paradise, and heard unspeakable words — 
not he whose relation of experiences, draws tears from every 
eye, and most easily wins the charity of the church — not 



SERMON III. 



the man who has astonished the world by splendid acts of 
beneficence — not he who has compassed sea and land, to 
make prosetytes to his sect, or whose preaching has been at- 
tended with wonderful effects on the bodies and the passions 
of men, to whom is promised the crown of glory. That 
man of trances, may have had the heart of a sorcerer. That 
relater of experiences, may be found a deceiver. That prodi- 
gy of generosity, may have given alms only to be seen of 
men. That powerful preacher, may have been an unbeliever, 
and that zealous laborer for proselytes, two-fold more a 
child of delusion, than the subject of his conversion. 

One would think, from what he beholds of the religious 
world — their discordances of sentiment, their difference of rites, 
their variety of worship, and the zeal of each for the peculari- 
ities of his sect> that there were as many Gods and Saviours, 
as there are religious distinctions, and that the path to heaven 
is as manifold as their Gods. A thorough examination 
of the scriptures, with a humble and prayerful spirit, brings 
us, however, to the conclusion, that there is but one " name 
given under heaven, whereby we can be saved," and that 
the most simple and infallible criterion of a title to his salva- 
tion, is obedience to his commands. To the exdusion of this 
test, no other can be genuine. This, comprehends every 
other.— ^-Him, who saith he loveth, or even knoweth God, 
and keepeth not his commandments, inspiration pronounceth 
a deceiver, and into the holy city, we know, entereth 
nothing that maketh a lie. 

But obedience is not possible without a rule. And no 
rule, by which we can please God, is given us, other than 
the precepts and example of Jesus Christ. Without him, 
we have no system of truth to believe, and without faith in 
such a system, no foundation for obedience exists. All that 
passes for religion in the world, other than what is compre- 
hended in obedience to Jesus Christ our Lawgiver, is mere 
delusion, and all hopes of future happiness drawn from any 



SERMON III. 



29 



other source than the grace of God in Christ, like the base- 
less fabric of a vision. They may form a pleasant amuse- 
ment for a night, but with the slumbers and the darkness, 
those hopes shall flee away, and leave not a trace behind. 

In the discussion of this subject, I propose to show First, 
That obedience to Christ is necessary to prove us his Dis- 
ciples. 

Secondly, that the connection between obedience, and a 
right to expect salvation, is a connection of Grace. 

And, in the third place, that obedience is of essential im- 
portance to happiness. 

I. First, the proof of being Christ's Disciples — They do 
his commandments. There are not wanting teachers of 
religion who imagine, that the Doctrine of Justification by 
Faith, is subversive of the practice of holiness. We are 
happy to be able, in the simplicity of Christ, to overthrow 
such an imagination. Throughout the Bible it is declared 
with equal f xplicitness and fulness, that to do the will of God, 
in opposition to the will of the flesh, it is necessary that we 
believe in his Son — and that to do it in singleness of heart, 
as unto Christ, in opposition to a mere seeming performance, 
is the only proof of the genuineness and purity of our faith. 
The prevailing sects in the day of Christ's personal ministry, 
observed merely the letter of the commandments ; and be- 
cause they affected obedience to God, while their hearts 
were far from him, he denounced them as "a seed of evil 
doers and a generation of vipers." God has directed that 
we do all things heartily as unto the Lord, and in the name 
of Christ. — Disobedience is a practical contradiction of this 
rule. Nothing is of the nature of obedience to God, which 
is not conformed to the spirit as well as letter of the law ; 
and this conformity cannot exist without love. No acts, or 
exercises, therefore, of a heart destitute of love, (since they 
regard not the spirit of the law,) can partake of the nature 



30 



SERMON III. 



of obedience. They are not a doing of the commandments, 
however similar they may be in their form, or exterior char- 
acter, to the letter of the precept. 

But why talk of doings, say you, when man is to be jus- 
tified by his faith ? Plainly because doing is not opposed to 
believing, but believing is a doing of one great command- 
ment of God. True faith, is an act of the highest obedience, 
and as such, it is a duty founded on that command, without 
whose performance, it is impossible to please him. For this, 
said Christ, f is the Father's will, that ye believe on the 
name of the Son of God, and that every one who believeth 
on him, should have everlasting life.'— But in any other 
view, than that of an ac^ of obedience to God, faith is 
neither a virtue, nor a criterion of virtue. And though I 
have all faith, so as to remove mountains, and even to suf- 
fer martyrdom, it profiteth me nothing. Let the man who 
is destitute of the spirit of obedience to God, tell me he be- 
lieves, and 1 will answer him — the Devils also believe. Let 
him say he believes and was baptized, and therefore accord- 
ing to the word of God, must be saved— I answer, Simon 
Magus also believed, and was baptized, but having nothing 
of the spirit of obedience was pronounced to be " in the gall 
of bitterness, and bond of iniquity." Jesus Christ owns re- 
lationship to no man, who offers any reason for his accept- 
ance, which excludes sincere obedience to God, and a doing 
of his will from the heart. " Who is my mother, and who 
are my brethren ? Whosoever shall do the will of God, the 
same is my brother, and sister, and mother." When, there- 
fore, exulting in the thought of being the parent of the babe 
of Bethlehem, the matron exclaimed, " blessed is she that 
bare thee Jesus answered, " yea rather, blessed are they 
that hear the word of God and keep it." The endearing 
and indissoluble union between Christ and his disciples, is 
constituted by a unity of spirit in regard to the will of God, 



SERMON III. 



81 



But some will say, that this is life eternal, to know* the 
true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent. True, yet 
this knowledge is not a mere light in the understanding, like 
that relating to human science. Men not unfrequently take 
their light for religion, when it is only a thing of the head, 
while obedience is of the heart ; when it is a knowledge 
only of what they ought to be, rather than of what they are. 
It is the application of knowledge, to the end for which it 
is given, and this alone, which renders the enlightened, holy. 
Thus to apply our speculative knowledge, is an act of obe- 
dience ; and to neglect so to apply it, is disobedience. The 
servant who knew his Lord's will, and did it not, was beaten 
with many stripes. To know, without corresponding exer- 
cise and action, therefore, is not to comply with the Divine 
will. On the other hand, to him that knoweth to do right, 
and doeth it not, to him it is sin. 

It was to men who hung upon the lips of his personal 
ministry, Christ said, " if ye know these things, happy are 
ye if ye do them." Many whose heads are stored with the 
precepts of the Gospel, bear testimony to the fact, that such 
happiness is not theirs. As faith is the evidence of things 
unseen, and rests on the testimony of Christ, whom the 
Father commands men to hear, and is therefore of the nature 
of obedience ; so to reduce our knowledge of christian doc- 
trine and precept to practice, results from it confidence in 
Christ's testimony, and is therefore of the nature of faith. 
Not to believe, is to impeach God's veracity ; not to obey, is 
to deny Christ's authority*; and both these are daring acts, 
of hostility, against the Father and the Son. Fitly, there- 
fore, did Christ give us this criterion of our discipleship — 

* The Author might have shown such an objector his ignorance of the 
use of language. Indeed, he has done it in effect, but it should have been 
done more explicitly. In the language of John, the word " know" is used, 
by synecdoche, for an entire reception of the Gospel of Christ ; just as 
te faith" is used by the sacred writers, not only for simple belief, but for 
the sentiments and conduct which should follow from believing. 



32 



SERMON III. 



" ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 55 
For there is no man without his creed ; none utterly desti- 
tute of the knowledge of his duty. But, as to believe the 
words of inspiration, and not the sense, is to reject the sub- 
stance, and rest on sound ; so to stand trial on a head filled 
with religious knowledge, without a heart to apply it to 
practice, is to violate our obligation in the very act of ac- 
knowledging it. With such men the Lawgiver and Saviour 
expostulates in language such as this, " Why call ye me 
* Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say V 9 And the 
inference of the Apostle is — " it had been better for them, 
not to have known the way of righteousness, than, having 
such knowledge, to turn away from the holy commandment 
which was delivered them." 

Still, to the evident necessity of doing his commandments, 
others will offer the evasion, that God has made promises to 
good affections; and that to their convictions of sin, and 
wretchedness and helplessness, they have added the sighs of 
sensibility, and the sorrows of the heart. God has promised 
nothing to disobedience, and it is to no purpose that we 
have religious affections, if they be not of the pure and holy- 
character which he has enjoined. Herod heard the gospel 
gladly. Judas had convictions and sorrows, which led him 
to repent his treachery. Saul confessed that he had done 
wrong. Felix was moved to trembling by the preaching of 
the Gospel. And even Pharoah, after enduring the tenth 
plague, came to the acknowledgment, that God was right- 
eous, but that he and his people»were wicked. And all af- 
fections which have not the spirit of obedience for their root, 
though they produce flashes of joy, and streams of momen- 
tary pleasure, and persuade men that they are the favorites 
of heaven, will soon die away, and leave their fond and de- 
luded subjects, as they found them, poor and wretched and 
blind and naked. Even the heart of rock, may bring forth 
such promise of fruit, and the foolish virgin thus sleep se- 



SERMON III. 33 

curely, without a supply of oil. I counsel thee, said Christ, 
to buy of me treasures that never fail. Such affections are 
too superficial, to be rested on as evidence of a title to eter- 
nal life. But there is a religious affection, which will afford 
a shelter, not merely in the summer's gentle heat, but in the 
storm and flood, which sweeps earth from her foundations, 
and buries every sand-based edifice, with its presumptuous 
tenant, in a common ruin. It is known by its fruits. It 
not only cometh to Christ, and heareth these sayings of his, 
but doeth them. Its foundation cannot be shaken — it is 
laid upon the rock. The religious tower which answers 
this description, is at all times a refuge and a defence. Its 
possessor is serene in the last mighty ruin. He has meat to 
eat, when the field and the vine and the flocks of the fold, 
supply him no more forever. He has a right to the tree of 
life, and free access to the rivers of pleasure, in the midst of 
the paradise of God. 

But you have reformed your life, and this is satisfactory 
evidence that you are safe. You are not only more moral 
than you were, but more so than other men. No longer an 
extortioner, or adulterer, or profaner of the sabbath — you 
fast oft, and give alms of all you possess. But to whom is 
this done — asks the Judge — have ye done it at all unto me ? 
Reformation will indeed be accepted, provided it be univer- 
sal. But what is a universal reformation f A compliance 
with the demands of the Gospel. It must reach the heart, 
as well as influence the life. With all your reforming, may 
you not have forgotten to purify first, the inner man, and to 
make the fountain good ? This is Christ's command ; and 
" to obey, is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the 
fat of rams." Neither a partial reformation, nor a partial 
observance of some of the precepts, is counted obedience. 
Every command of the Gospel is of the same authority, and 
wherever the disposition to universal righteousness is want- 
ing, there the spirit of obedience is not found. We cannot 



24 



SERMON III. 



follow Christ, and set the Gospel against the law, as our rule 
of life : for on the Law and the Prophets, he founded all his 
precepts and habits of life. And if he came not to destroy 
the rule, he came to restore zis to the spirit of obedience to 
the law. "If ye keep my commandments, then are ye my 
disciples indeed, and shall abide in my love." And we have 
this confidence in the Lord concerning the Church, said the 
Apostle, that ye both do, and will do, the things we have 
commanded you. Does not Christ always thus distinguish^ 
between real and merely nominal disciples ? "Do not after 
their works, for they say, but do not" — They act, " to be seen 
of men." 

The Apostles followed their Master, in inculcating the 
spirit of obedience, in opposition to that barely literal ob- 
servance of the precept, which even Baalam's covetousness 
could not dispense with. " If Balak would give me his 
house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word 
of the Lord, to do less or more," still, for the love of the 
wages of unrighteousness, he taught Balak to seduce the 
people of God to sin ; and there he stands, a conspicuous 
beacon to men, glorying in their conformity to the law, 
while utterly destitute of the spirit towards the Lawgiver 
which it enjoins. The language of James bears directly on 
this point, when saying, that "he is the man, blessed in his 
deeds, who is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the 
word" — and when adding, that the faith which is alone, is 
no evidence at all of a Christian temper — of a heart, de- 
lighting in the commandments of God. The Apostle Paul, 
impressed with the same view of the subject, demands an 
inward and an active righteousness. And, to the same end, 
the Apostle John declares, that he only who doeth righteous- 
ness is born of God, or is in fact righteous before him. 
And, to put the doctrine of the text beyond doubt, we have 
only to add, that we cannot even offer a prayer, in the spirit 
«f obedience, and in conformity with Christ's direction, but 



SERMON III. 



35 



by saying — "thy will be done" And when, in the process 
of the last judgment, it shall be said to the good and faithful 
servant — " Well don*, for inasmuch as ye have done it unto 
these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" — then, the 
Universe will perceive, to the joy of the just, and to the con- 
fusion of the wicked, that God is no respecter of persons, but 
that whatsoever good thing any man hath done, the same he 
has received of the Lord ; and that they who have not 
obeyed the Gospel, nor, as the servants of Christ, done the 
will of God from the heart, shall have been justly accounted 
disobedient, and recompensed according to their works. 

Thus you have before you, in the actual doing of the 
commandments, the evidence of an obedient temper — of a 
disciple of Christ ; and of consequence, the evidence of a 
title to eternal life. And thus we have it settled, by infalli- 
ble witnesses, that the doctrine of justification by faith alone, 
through the righteousness of Christ, is perfectly consistent 
with a judgment according to our works ; and that whoever 
declares that the belief of that doctrine tends to licentious- 
ness, and encourages men in sin, calumniates, not men, but 
God. 

II. This may more fully appear, by stating, in the 
second place, the connection between obedience, and the 
right or title to eternal life. No sinner, it is obvious, can 
claim any thing of God as a debt. If he have a right to ex- 
pect salvation, it must be founded upon promise. If he have 
any title to life, it must be derived from a free-will offering 
of his injured Sovereign. I need not press the conscience, 
therefore, with arguments to convict it, that if there be any 
connection between obedience to God's commandments, and 
a right to the tree of life, it is a connection of Grace — of 
were 'Grace. The law, recognizes no transgressor as just 
before God. It makes no provision for remission of sins. 
It knows of no title to righteousness, acquired by the deeds 
of a sinner. The obedience, then, of which we have treated, 



36 



SERMON nr. 



is not known in law ; nor the title to the heavenly inherit- 
ance, connected with that obedience. But if the inheritance, 
or right, come not by the Law, it must be of Grace : for 
that which is not due, is by necessity a gift ; and a gift pre- 
cludes the idea of previous obligation on the part of him who 
bestows it. The right, then, is acquired by a Divine con- 
stitution, superadded to the Law. It is a right, acquired 
for man by purchase ; and conferred, according to stipula- 
tions entered into by the Father and the Son. It is the 
right of a prisoner to go free, upon the surety's paying the 
price of ransom. To the sinner, salvation, of consequence, 
is a free gift ; while to the mediator, or surety, his deliver- 
ance is an act of righteousness. Christ, however, came to 
redeem us, not only from guilt, and from captivity, and 
bondage, but to purify us unto himself, a peculiar people, 
zealous of good works* Our obedience, is the evidence of 
our having become partakers in this redemption ; and not 
at all, either the cause, or means of such redemption. Our 
restoration to the spirit of obedience, as well as to the for- 
feited inheritance, is the effect, and not the cause of redeem- 
ing mercy, and saving love. And hence, it is fitly said, that 
"it is not by works of righteousness, which we have done, 
but of his mercy he saveth us, by the renewing of the Spirit," 
shed on us at Christ's intercession. Hence also it is obvi- 
ous, boasting is excluded. The right or title to life, is "not 
of works, lest any man should boast ; for we are his work- 
manship," and for our very obedience, indebted to his grace. 
And after our best obedience, it becomes us to say, we have 
conferred no favour. There is nothing in present obedience, 
which atones for the want of obedience, from the beginning. 
And were our present obedience legally perfect, and our life 
as unexceptionable as our rule, we should still be required to 
say, we have done no more than it was our duty ever^o have 
done — Duty, and nothing more, even though our forfeited 
title to life should not be restored. Christ, however, having 



SERMON IH. 



37 



expiated our guilt, has given eternal life, as well as "the 
power," or privilege, "to become the sons of God, to as many 
as believe on his name." In acknowledging salvation to be 
thus altogether of the Lord, Christians offer nothing com- 
plimentary, or superfluous to his name. For it is an essen- 
tial part of their obedience, that they renounce all dependance 
on their personal righteousness, as a ground of their accept- 
ance. And to be taken off from such dependance, and made 
to rely wholly on the atonement of Christ, is the great work 
of God. Self-righteousness is incorporated with our very 
heart's-blood, and is found often, in as rank luxuriance, in 
the grossly vicious, as in those of the most Pharisaical ex- 
actness. But they who are Christ's, have crucified this 
vain conceit. They "count all things loss, for the excel- 
lence of the knowledge of him" and freely suffer " the loss 
of all things," to be found, having on the righteousness 
which is of God, by faith in him, who died for our sins, and 
rose for our justification, and who has become the author of 
eternal salvation to all them that obey him. 

III. To perceive, then, the importance of such obedience 
to happiness, it is only necessary to recollect, that without 
the spirit of obedience, there is no possibility of restoration 
to the Divine image or friendship, and no evidence, of con- 
sequence, of a title to the heavenly inheritance. And with- 
out such restoration to God's image and favour, how can 
a rational being be happy f Will you call that man blessed, 
who has no earnest of the purchased inheritance — who bears 
no resemblance to Christ — who has fallen into the condem- 
nation of the Devil — who is alienated from the life of God — 
who is exposed to die in his sins, and to have a never end- 
ing residence and recompense with the enemies of God ! 
Call himself happy he may ; and he may be so called by 
a world destitute, like himself, of faith in the threaten- 
mgs of God — but Jesus Christ, pronounces him wretched, 
miserable, accursed ; and we know, that his testimony is 



3S 



SERMON III. 



true. But " the good man is satisfied from himself.'' His 
own experience teaches him, that to be brought into the 
honorable relation of a son of God, and to hold in his hand 
a title to future glory and immortality ; and to possess, in 
his breast, an earnest of eternal bliss, which sweetens the 
intercourse of life, and removes the sting of death, is solid 
good. Likeness of nature, begets likeness of enjoyment. Is 
God happy ? so then must his children be. " If any love 
me," said Christ, him will my Father honor, and where / am, 
there shall my servant be." Who wears the purple of a 
thousand realms ? Who wears the sceptre of as many pro- 
vinces ? Let him try to exchange them, with the christian, 
for the bliss of one hours consciousness of being exalted to 
virtuous desires ; of resembling the best of beings ; of being 
allied to God ; for the glory of daring to be a follower of 
Christ at the hazard of bearing the ignominy of his cross. 
God forbid we should deny, that in keeping his command- 
ments, at any expense, there is great reward. Is there no 
happiness in the love and pursuit of what is lovely ? Is there 
not high satisfaction, in doing right, from right principles — 
in serving God with good will, on the ground of obvious 
justice, gratitude and love ? If not, then to be a christian, is 
not, as is asserted in the text, to be blessed. But miserable 
is that man who awards such emptiness to christian virtue ; 
and wretched he, who does not know that a consciousness of 
having done well — of having pleased God — of having per- 
formed one duty accepted of his Judge — is of more real 
value, than all the glories of earthly conqMest, and the hom- 
age of the world. To be good, rather than great, to be ac- 
tuated by the motives which adorned all the actions of the 
Son of God, and to find our victory over sin and the world, 
complete, at last, through our Lord Jesus Christ ; is to 
possess " bags which wax not old, a treasure which faileth 
not, eternal in the heavens." 



SERMON IIL 



39 



1. We learn from our subject, first, that there will be 
much " weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth," at 
the last day. If all are to be placed on the left hand, who 
choose Christ only as a Saviour from hell, and all who obey 
him not even in form, as well as all who obey him not in 
deed and in truth — how great must be the throng, from the 
Mosque, the Monastery, the Synagogue, the Pagoda, the 
Temples ofProtestant lands, and the habitations of men who 
have no Temple but the world — how great must be the 
throng, who will be disappointed at the bar of Christ ! How 
vast the multitude to whom he " will profess, I never knew 
you ; depart from me, ye workers of iniquity !" 

2. We perceive, in the next place, what a slender hold 
they have, on the promises of salvation, who make their 
good works the basis of acceptance with a merciful God. 
The obedience of Christ unto death, is the sole ground of a 
sinner's title to the promised inheritance. " Other founda- 
tion can no man lay." Yet the visible Church, and the 
nominally christian world, are thronged with men, who hope 
for the mercy of God unto eternal life, only because they 
have sustained a fair moral character — because, without at 
all regarding the temper, and spirit, and motive of their ac- 
tions, they have conformed to the letter of the christian pre- 
cepts. But such conformity is not of the nature of obedi- 
ence. This regards, not only the form of the action, but the 
spirit from which it proceeds : so that were obedience, as 
they suppose, the ground of acceptance, they would be as 
far from salvation on that ground, as they are on the princi- 
ple, that it is indeed good evidence of a title to eternal life. 
In this view of the subject, it is a peculiar infelicity to be ig- 
norant of the nature, and necessity of the atonement. Such 
ignorance and unbelief, confident and easy as its subjects 
are in their security, is an infallible mark of an unhumbled 
heart — of a soul unreconciled to God. For all men of er- 
roneous sentiments, on the subject of the great salvation, we 



40 



SERMON III. 



have cause to tremble ; but for this class, of all others, we 
have the least ground to hope. They have neither such 
obedience as the Gospel demands, in evidence of reconcilia- 
tion to God, nor, by their own testimony, have they that 
faith in Christ, to which the promise of life is graciously 
made. They have evidently stumbled at the stone which 
God has laid in Zion for a foundation, and on which (as it 
is written) he who builds his hopes and works, shall never 
be confounded. Such professing christians, the believer 
will pity ; for them he will fervently pray ; but this is the 
nil which they will allow him to do. Their delusion is, to 
their hearts, sweeter than Divine wisdom, and their obsti- 
nate adherence to it stronger than proof of holy writ. 
They have ceased to listen to argument, and would rather 
lose their confidence in the inspiration of the sacred writers, 
than be convicted of their error and corrected. And should 
we at last witness concerning them, as of Jerusalem, that 
the things of their peace are forever hidden from their eyes, 
we may, indeed, like our compassionate master, weep over 
their city when we behold its desolation ; but ours will be 
tears neither of surprise nor of joy. 

3. In the third place, our subject forcibly reminds us, 
of the weakness, as well as wickedness of men, who either 
because they suppose themselves unable, or because they sup- 
pose obedience unnecessary to make their salvation sure, neg- 
lect to do his commandments. Surely, it is very great weak- 
ness to suppose that any man is to be saved without obeying 
the Gospel of Christ, when he has explicitly and absolutely 
declared that such shall be punished with everlasting destruc- 
tion : and as certainly, it is very gross wickedness, to 
charge God with having given us commandments, which he 
has put it out of our power to obey, and yet made obedi- 
ence the criterion of our title to eternal life. This charge 
fastens on the word of God a palpable contradiction. For 
he has expressly declared, that a willing mind, is all that he 



SERMON III. 



41 



demands of those who have not the power to do any thing 
more in the way of obedience ; and as we are free, every man 
is able, at least, to will to obey God ; that is, every man 
possesses the spirit of obedience — the will to obey, unless he 
deliberately prefers not to obey. " He that reproveth God, 
let him answer it." 

4. We learn, from our subject, the guilt of men who 
stumble over the sins of professing Christians. If God had 
said, that all who professed to be his people, should prove to 
be his people, they might be blameless*; but in his word you 
find it written that " many are called, but few chosen." 
To fall over disobedient professors, then, is your fault — to 
give occasion for it by disobedience is theirs ; and every man 
shall bear his own burden. 

5. Finally, brethren, how inexcusable, and how doubly 
wretched shall we be, if our expectations are cut off. We 
have every inducement, and every advantage to labor obe- 
diently, that we may be accepted of God. The Apostle and 
great High Priest of our profession, faithful as the Sun in 
his course, has shewn us the way to glory, and merited the 
crown ; we have promised to fight, to overcome, and wear 
it. "He cannot deny himself." Let us not deiry him. — 
But, adding "to faith, virtue, to virtue knowledge, and to 
knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to 
patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and 
to brotherly kindness charity ," let us abound " in the work 
of the Lord." For doing " these things, we shall never fall : 
but so an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly, 
into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ." "Noiv unto him that is able to keep you from fall-* 
'ing, and to present you faultless, -before his presence, with ex- 
ceeding joy ; to the only ivise God our Saviour, be glory" 
throughout all ages. — Amen. 

6 



SERMON IV. 



EXPERIMENTAL RELIGION VINDICATED. 

Psalm lxvi. 16. 

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he 
hath done for my soul. 

How comes it, my brethren, that "the people of the 
saints of the most high God," bury in their own breasts, 
that Grace which has distinguished them from their former 
selves, and the knowledge of which should be diffused to its 
author's praise ? How comes it, that the true christian is so 
diffident of himself, while the false convert, noisy aud vain- 
glorious, proclaims his imagined conversion in every corner 
of the street, and in the chief places of concourse ! — That 
the one, by an excess of modesty, withholds from God his 
glory, through fear of self-exaltation ; and the other blows 
the trumpet of his own fame, as if his self-wrought righteous- 
ness had made him the favorite of heaven. Is not the prac- 
tice of the one and of the other, alike to be condemned, as 
Cv otrary to sound doctrine, and an extreme equally to be 
avoided ? So taught the royal penitent, by an example 
worthy of universal imitation. An example the more com- 



SERMON IV. 



43 



manding, as it is that of a man immediately instructed of 
God, in the duties of piety ; and of a monarch, who had no 
private and sinister ends to accomplish by such a procedure. 

Observe, and profit by, his caution on the one hand ; by 
his resolute engagedness, on the other, to do honor to his 
Saviour, and to encourage and animate the fellow-heirs of 
the inheritance, in search and praise of the treasures of 
Divine Grace. 

Come and hear — not you, who neither understand nor 
value the things of God ; — not you, sensual, and profane ! 
who will only ridicule and scoff at the agency of the Spirit 
of God. Come and hear — not you, victims of prejudice ! — 
not you, libertines ! who would turn the grace of God into 
wantonness, and deride the most sacred and the most thor- 
oughly attested truths of the kingdom of God. Who then 
are invited, to listen to the methods of his operations, who 
has an invincible and saving influence upon the human 
heart? "Come and hear, all ye that fear Goo 5 ' — who can 
appreciate his mercy, and confide in the testimony of his 
adopted sons. Others also must have evidence of your con- 
cern for his honor and for their welfare ; but this must arise 
from your tears and prayers — your instructions and re- 
proofs : it must be given in your zeal to reform them, and 
in a thousand signs of your solicitude for their salvation. 
The world must have evidence, that God is in you of a truth, 
and that you prize his influence ; but this is to be given them, 
in what alone has weight with the incredulous, the power of 
a holy example. In your detachment from the objects which 
engross them — in your heavenly-mindedness — in your su- 
periority to the pleasures which captivate, the employments 
which engage, and the sorrows that depress and overwhelm 
an earthly mind. Your light will shine convincingly before 
them, to the glory of the Father, only by this peculiar de- 
portment. These are the means by which alone you can 



44 



SERMON IV. 



hope to benefit them, and this is the testimony you owe to 
the grace of God in their behalf. 

But another object is now before us — It is to Vindicate 
the character of Experimental Religion ; and to exhibit 
the advantages to be derived from communion with each 
other, on this most interesting subject. 

The phrase, experimental religion, has been introduced 
into the Christian world, not from choice, but necessity. 
Not because it is to be admitted, for a moment, that any 
man possesses, or can possess a religious character without 
experience ; but because the world have been ever contend- 
ing for a religion in which the heart may be excused a share, 
or as little as possible, be obliged to participate. 

Far is it, however, from the fact, as men who deny 
Christian experience, would persuade themselves, that it is 
either opposed to light in the understanding, or in any case 
exists without it. Equally remote from the truth, is the 
supposition, that experimental religion is a work of the 
j imagination, without any salutary influence in the regula- 
tion of the passions and the conduct. It is, on the contrary, 
an affection of the heart, productive of the soundest judg- 
ment. It is alike remote from a mere speculative knowledge, 
and an enthusiastic heat of the passions — from a mere 
theory of sentiment, and a mechanical and unfeeling govern- 
ment of the visible deportment. The christian is declared, 
by the author of the faith, to have " the eyes of his under- 
standing enlightened," and his heart deeply affected : his 
whole conduct, of consequence, is governed by such an un- 
derstanding, and such a heart. The speculative christian, 
assents to the truths of revealed religion ; the experimental 
christian goes a step farther, and tastes and sees that these 
truths and their author are good. The mechanical christian, 
frames his doings by statutes, written with ink, engraven on 
stone, and perceived only by the eye ; the experimental 



SERMON IV* 



45 



christian has them written, by the Spirit of the living God, 
on the fleshly tables of the heart. Every truth of the gos- 
pel, of consequence, becomes, in the highest sense, knowledge. 
He knows that God is worthy of supreme love, because, in 
addition to the conclusion of his understanding, he has the 
verdict of his heart. He knows himself to be a sinner, not 
merely because he perceives the difference between the pre- 
cepts of the law, and his conduct ; but because he feels his 
vileness. He knows the necessity, the value, and the suf- 
ficiency of the Redeemer, not merely because this statement 
meets his eye, in a revelation which is proved to be from 
God 5 but also, because he has felt most keenly the need of 
such a Saviour^ and has embraced him in his affections. 
Thus the very image of the objects, presented him in the 
word of God, is formed upon his heart, and becomes anala- 
gous to that of natural objects formed on the retina of the 
eye. Let the rationalist now, compare the notions a blind 
man obtains of the objects of vision, by description, with 
those of the man, who from actual inspection describes them : 
or rather, let him imagine the blind man restored to sight, 
and he will perceive the propriety of the affirmation, that 
religion without experience can be no more said to exist in 
the human breast, than a landscape to possess beauties in 
the view of him who is without the organs of vision. — Con- 
ceive what such a man, on being restored to sight, would 
tell you of what had been done for his eyes, and judge, 
from this feeble illustration, what a christian must be able 
to say, God has done for his soul. 

Permit me to ask then whether there be any thing irra- 
tional, or unfriendly to the human intellect, in maintaining 
the necessity of an experimental acquaintance with divine 
truth ? Is it possible for Omnipotence to open the blind eye, 
and fill the soul with delight in perceiving the beautiful ob- 
jects with which it is surrounded — and is it not possible so to 



4(3 



SERMON IV. 



enlighten the understanding, and move the heart, as to give 
reality and excellence to the religion of the gospel ! May 
he not thus impart knowledge and pleasure, through the 
medium of the understanding and affections, with as much 
facility, as through the medium of corporeal vision ! The 
Jew may doubt, and the malignant blaspheme, but he who 
has experienced such an operation will tell you, in either 
case, " whereas 1 was blind I now see :" — and to doubt his 
testimony, or charge him with delusion, is a proof, not of 
superior wisdom or penetration, but of deplorable ignorance. 
The man has made trial, and by experiment proved the 
truth of the description which has been given him, and you 
call him a visionary and enthusiast. You have declined the 
experiment, and yet put in an exclusive claim to reason. 
Your claim shall be respected, when you trust your ship 
with the landsman who never tried his skill upon the ocean — 
when you commit your case to the novice, who never advo- 
cated a cause — when you lease out your farm to a man who 
has spent his life in studying the books of husbandry, without 
once engaging in the labors of the field. Till then, all can- 
did men will agree, that he is the visionary who denies the 
necessity, or laughs at the testimony of experience. And 
if, even in the little concerns of a world which is passing 
away — if, for objects of comparatively trivial and insignifi- 
cant character, experience alone obtains respect : — if, even 
in Philosophy, whom the rationalist hails as the daughter of 
the skies, that alone which is experimental obtains the re- 
gard of wise men : — if only that administration obtains con- 
fidence, which employs experienced statesmen in the cabinet, 
and experienced generals in the field : — if, in the most com- 
mon concerns of business, experience is an essential qualifi- 
cation of the men we employ-— how preposterous, how op- 
posed to common sense, the assertion, that it is of little ac- 
count, or even worse than useless, in the greatest of all con- 



SERMON IV. 



47 



cerns— -the Christian Religion ! Inexperience in commercial 
concerns, has ruined its thousands. Inexperience in the 
affairs of the state, has destroyed empires ; and inexperience 
in religion, will delude to perdition a world of souls. Yes, 
a world of souls J for once in thirty years, more than six 
hundred millions of human beings die — and of these, not a 
sixth part have even the theory of true religion : and of this 
sixth, how great a proportion deride as visionary — and how 
much greater, professedly know nothing of experimental 
piety ! 

To vindicate it therefore, is to take the part of Jesus 
Christ against the powers of darkness. 

Much is said, by the sober part of mankind, in behalf of 
practical religion ; and too much in its favor never can be 
said : but let it not be forgotten that practical religion, de- 
pends entirely upon that which is experimental. We can- 
not take a step in our practice, acceptable to God, if our 
ultimate end be wrong — and how can our motives be right, 
without any experience of the love of truth ! All experience 
worthy of the name may be comprehended in the love of 
God, shed abroad in the heart. Without this, a very differ^ 
ent kind of experience has always shown us, that we are the 
mere sport of passion. Pride, ambition and selfishness, in 
some of their multiform shapes, give an impulse to every 
movement of the soul, and, whatever be the form of our ac- 
tions, necessarily render both us and them, an abhorrence in 
the eyes of him, who looketh, not on the outward appearance, 
but the heart. Hence it is, that the form of religion may 
exist, and does exist often, in men who deny its power, leav- 
ing them the servants of corruption. Hence too, those in- 
numerable errors which have filled the visible church with 
contention and discord, and carried about with every wind 
of doctrine, men who have failed to secure that good thing — 
a heart established with grace — by founding their practice 



48 



SERMON IV. 



upon experience. That love, which prompts a man to do the 
will of God, the knowledge of which, is to be acquired only 
by experience, is alone an infallible security against fatal 
error. It is only by the knowledge of our weakness, our 
corruption, our dependance, and our obligations, that we 
learn to walk humbly with God. But this is a knowledge* 
which books will never teach us, and be our practice what 
it may, without such knowledge we can have no communion 
with God. 

The most bigotted men the world has ever beheld, belong 
to that class, who oppose practical, to experimental re- 
ligion — who go through all the forms of justice, beneficence, 
public and secret worship, with the organs of the body, 
while their hearts are destitute of the spirit of Christ. And 
if any men could have right to be bigotted, they, of all men 
would be best entitled to it : for who would not be tenacious 
of his forms, and wedded to his practice as the one thing 
needful, when it constitutes the whole of his religion ! But 
of what value is it ? Nothing which we do without respect 
for God, though the form, or matter of the action, be per^ 
fectly unexceptionable, has any thing of the nature of re- 
ligion. It has of course an essential defect of a rational, no 
less than of a religious, act : and to be attached to such a 
service, and to lay such a stress on it, is of the very nature 
of bigotry, which like persecution and blind zeal, is opposed 
to the genius and spirit of Christianity. 

Hence it is, that the life of a christian is said to be " hid 
with Christ." It is a life, in its essential peculiarities, hid- 
den, not only as its nature is spiritual and of course invisible, 
but as it is wholly unknown to the world, who, having no 
experience of the hopes, and joys, and sorrows, and motives, 
and feelings, of a christian, cannot be supposed to appreciate 
them ; and this is one of the soundest reasons for calling 
upon them who fear God, in distinction from the wicked, to 



V 



SERMON IV. 



49 



listen to those testimonies of divine Grace, which the true 
christian is ready to impart, not as his boast, but for the 
honor of the divine mercy. 

Finally, that there can be no such thing as practical re- 
ligion without experimental, is obvious from the fact, that 
the gospel on all its pages, declares that every motive and 
every grace of the christian, from which acceptable conduct 
proceeds, is the fruit of divine mercy, and the gift of God. 
Suffer me now to ask, this being true, whether, in the nature 
of things, it be possible that God should impart to the soul 
of man these graces, and he not know it, or, in other words, 
not experience it. Are our hearts made of such insensible 
stuff, that they may be changed from the love of the world 
to the love of God, without any consciousness of such a 
change ? Can a man awake from a state cf apathy — can he 
change the objects of his chief affection and pursuit — his 
studies — his companions — and his fondest expectations — can 
any operation indeed, of so interesting, and affecting a na- 
ture, be performed, as shall give his whole practice a new- 
character — and he himself, be said to have had no experi- 
mental acquaintance with such an operation ! If this is too 
absurd to be alleged, then it must either be denied that any- 
such operation is necessary, and so the whole gospel be re- 
jected ; or it must be admitted, that experimental religion is 
an essential preparative for that which is practical, and that 
they cannot in any case have a separate and independent 
existence. Let us put away then that incredulity, and above 
all, that derisive smile, implying a fiend-like malice, which 
is sometimes excited at the mention of experimental religion. 
Without experience, religion is but a chimera ; and without 
a substantial and cordial religion, man is lost forever ! We 
have endeavoured to vindicate the character of experimental 
religion — 

II. Let us look, in the next place, at the benefits which 
7 



50 



SERMON IV. 



its subjects may derive, from communicating to each other, 
the methods and the influence of divine grace upon their 
hearts. Far be it from me to recommend that ostentatious 
and self-righteous boast of one's own favors ; or even that 
humble, but ill timed disclosure of our personal experiences, 
which characterize but too many of every christian country. 
He who said, on one occasion, " go home and show thy 
friends how great things the Lord hath done for thee said, 
on another, " see thou tell no man." But there are times, 
when it would be ungrateful to keep silence ; there are oc- 
casions, when reserve would be something more than mod- 
esty. While the heavens declare the glory of God, and the 
lower world, in all its animate and inanimate portions, unite 
with one voice, to celebrate his goodness ; it would be an 
outrage, for him who is endowed with the gift of speech^ 
and whose lips the Lord has opened — for whom he has done 
more than for the whole creation beside, never to show forth 
his praise, by declaring what has been done for him. 

The confession in the text, is, like that of all men taught 
of God, a direct acknowledgment, that the soul derives all 
its virtue, hope, and happiness from the grace of God. In- 
stead, therefore, of swelling the heart of man with pride, 
nothing has a more direct tendency to clothe it with humil- 
ity. Gratitude to God, then, demands of us at times, a per- 
sonal testimony to his rich and sovereign goodness. Hence, 
the chiefest of the Apostles, has given us an example of such 
humility and gratitude. — " By the grace of God I am what 
I am and though unknown, by face, to the churches of 
Judea, they, on hearing of his conversion to the faith he 
once laboured to destroy, glorified God in him. The peo- 
ple, beholding the man whose sins Jesus had forgiven, were 
amazed, and glorified God. When Cornelius, having called 
his friends about him, related to them and to the Apostle, 
the story of God's distinguishing mercy to his soul, they 



SERMON IV. 



m 



were all filled with gratitude and praise ; while the Apostle, 
in the audience of them all, proclaimed the largeness and 
impartiality of the divine goodness to Gentiles and to 
Jews. 

Who is not filled with admiration of the divine bounty, 
when he sees Jehovah opening his hand, and supplying the 
wants of every living thing : — when he beholds him as the 
great Father of all, vindicating the cause of the oppressed, 
and pleading for the fatherless and widow : — when, by his 
mysterious providence, he delivers the innocent, and defeats 
the designs of malice ; and through the very means they em- 
ploy to devastate, promotes the increase, stability, and hap- 
piness of the earth ! But all this — worthy of a God as it 
is — all this, is nothing, compared with the triumphs of his 
grace, overcoming even his enemies, subduing malignity by 
love, reforming the headstrong, pardoning the guilty, and 
out of corruption itself, creating a spirit in his own likeness, 
and qualifying it to bless mankind, to enjoy the pleasures of 
his kingdom, and to glorify his name forever. Who can 
witness, much more feel, such effects of the stupendous 
work of redeeming and sanctifying love, without a heart to 
praise, or a tongue to utter the memory of so great good- 
ness ? 

What think you of the man, who, though rescued from 
poverty, despair, and death, by the disinterested efforts of a 
generous stranger, never makes an acknowledgment, save 
when he can steal into his solitude — never speaks to others 
of the kindness he has received, nor suffers his friends to 
know to whom he is indebted for his competence ! Is he an 
ingrate ? How much more the man who confines to his own 
bosom, his obligations to his maker! — Whom, when a 
stranger to God and to himself, grace made so great a debt- 
or, by discovering to him the plague of his heart, and by 
leading him, for refuge from justice and from guilt, to the 



52 



SERMON IV. 



cross of Jesus Christ, and to the hope set before him in the 
Gospel — conquered his attachment to idols, rescued him from 
the prison of despair, and secured to him the freedom of the 
city of God ! Ought not such a man, to overcome his irreso- 
lution, or timidity, and to do honor to his deliverer ? 
Ought he not to give to him " who asketh him, a reason of 
the hope that is in him, with meekness and fear ?" Thus in- 
deed man is abased, but his Saviour is exalted. Not only 
gratitude to God, but — 

2. In the next place, the edification of the church, re- 
quires it. The great " diversity of operation," which is ex- 
pressly ascribed to the " same spirit," and which produces 
the same results in every breast in which it dwells, can be 
known, only by such communication. But as in all this 
variety, the wisdom of God is illustrated, and our views of 
his goodness extended, and even our charity enlarged, it is 
of no small importance, that christians speak freely, at some 
time, one to another. Nor is it merely edifying, it is ani- 
mating also. Did you never witness the interest excited in 
the youthful soldier's breast, when the faithful veteran has 
given the narrative of his early conflicts, and, forgetting his 
wounds, started from his seat, " shouldered his crutch, and 
shown how fields were won ?" So the young convert kindles, 
and his hope lights up, when, in his experience, the aged 
christian spreads before him all the way in which God has 
led him, from the commencement of his pilgrimage. He 
gains something, even from the story of his doubts, and 
fears, and falls. Good men love to hear of the operations 
of divine grace. And it is not an idle curiosity which 
wakes their attention ; jior is it gratified without a good prac- 
tical influence, when the reports of these operations are 
judiciously, and seasonably interchanged. When tidings 
came to the church of Jerusalem, of the power of God 
through the preaching of the Apostles at Antioch, Barnabas 



SERMON IV. 



53 



was dispatched to learn its operation and extent ; who, when 
he had arrived, and witnessed the grace of God, was glad. 
It inspires love to the generous benefactor, to hear the tale 
of the miserable whom he has relieved ; and excites confi- 
dence too, in him who needs similar relief, to go to him with 
increased hope of obtaining like benefits. The history of 
the christian soldier, gives fortitude to the mind meeting the 
same temptations and conflicts. The example of those who 
have embarked, with all their stores, in the cause of right- 
eousness, and who have been enabled to adorn the doctrine 
of the Saviour, and to bless mankind, animates the soul to 
virtue ; and when we learn the means, by which God has 
wrought such excellence in men, new thoughts are conceiv- 
ed, new confirmation of faith, and hope, and patience, are 
added : we melt with sympathy, we grow emulous, and our 
hearts ascend to God in praise. Thus the wonderful works 
of God, and the verity of his word, and the truth of his 
promises, and the whole mystery of redeeming and saving 
love, in its application to man, is developed ; and we are 
consoled as well as animated, and purified as well as trans- 
ported, at what God has done for the soul. Yes christians ! 
these narratives have moistened, with tears of gladness, the 
furrowed cheek ; and proved the means, of spiritual good to 
many souls. And thus to warm, and elevate — to ennoble, 
and invigorate each others' hearts, is not merely to give a 
theatrical representation of human happiness, and human 
woes : it is not to beget the lean pleasures of the player's 
hero, but to depict the realities of life, and yield the soul a 
permanent benefit in its pilgrimage to heaven. For one 
truth, built upon actual experience, or derived from it, has 
a force and virtue, worth ten thousand merely speculative. 
Man may, indeed, very rationally take for true, the testimony 
of Christ, on the external evidence alone ; but no confirma- 
tion is to be compared with that, produced by the corres- 



.1 

54 



SERMON IV. 



pondence of our own hearts' testimony, with his declarations. 
The similar experience of another, increases the force of 
evidence ; and thus the heirs of life are mutual fellow-help- 
ers to the kingdom of God, and are made to hold fast their 
confidence unto the end. Thus charity, while she seeketh 
not her own, is kind ; and while never puffed up, edifieth her 
neighbor. 

3. Finally, at some time to follow the example in the 
text, is requisite to command the charity of the Church for 
ourselves. Charity cannot believe without evidence ; nor 
consider that man a Christian, whose claim has no other 
support, than that he sits at the table of the Lord, and is 
neither a glutton nor a drunkard. The evidence she asks, 
is to be obtained, only by a comparison of our professions 
with our actions. If God has done nothing for our souls, 
no kind of life can afford evidence that we are Christians : 
for religion has its commencement, its progress, and its in- 
fluence in the soul. If a spirit of holiness be in-wrought in 
our breasts, and the high and lofty One has taken up his 
dwelling there, we shall give no false representations, and 
our life will not belie the tale we tell. Without the evidence 
of such a profession, and a corresponding life, how are we 
to enjoy that personal friendship — that holy fellowship, 
which, next to communion with God, is essential to consti- 
tute a Church of Christ ? That most important of all rela- 
tive duties — the exercise of love to the brethren — inculcated 
so frequently by the Saviour, and insisted on so much in 
the Gospel, as the essential evidence of our discipleship, can- 
not be performed towards men of whose Christian character 
we have no evidence, from any quarter : And from no quar- 
ter can it come, if it be never even declared, that God has 
done any thing for our souls. Such a declaration, to con- 
fidential friends at least, fails not to lay a foundation for 
Christian communion, if the life be right ; and to engage 



SERMON IV. 



55 



the affection or charity of all, who, through those friends, 
receive the evidence of our discipleship. By such an inter- 
change of views, and such a disclosure of divine operations 
upon their hearts, the Christian fraternity are attracted to 
each other ; and kindly affectioned, and charitably united, 
constitute part of that blessed family, who, having one Lord, 
one faith, one hope, are distinguished from every other com- 
munity ; loving one another, out of a pure heart fervently, 
subordinate, in all things, to Jesus Christ. 

If then, as we have endeavored to evince, experimental re- 
ligion be essential to a Christian life, a happy death, and a 
glorious immortality — if gratitude to God, the highest use- 
fulness to the Church, and charity to ourselves, demand of 
us, a seasonable and judicious report, of the methods of 
divine grace with our souls — the proper Improvement of 
this subject, demands of Christians, an inquiry at the door 
of their own hearts, whether they have not received the 
grace of God in vain ! 

Are there not some without the Church, who have smoth- 
ered in their own breast, that goodness of God, which, for 
the honor of his name, should have been inscribed on his 
altar ? Are there not others, who have grown old in wait- 
ing at the posts of his house, without a single deliberate, 
and honest investigation, of the causes which have led them 
to profess the religion of Christ, and to eat and drink with 
his friends at the sacramental table ? Are there not still 
more, who, though able to give a reason of the hope that is 
in them, decline, from motives which will never bear the 
light, that free, but unostentatious communication with 
their fellow christians, on the subject of their personal re- 
ligion, which is authorized by the best examples in the word 
of God ; and which is withheld at the sacrifice of their own 
usefulness, the interests of the church, and the glory of their 
supreme benefactor ? 



56 



SERMON IV. 



While we are all induced, by a consideration of this too 
much neglected topic, to make a thorough personal exami- 
nation of our interest in it ; let us remember, that Christ has 
most significantly said, that "no man lighteth a candle to 
put it under a corn measure" — and that if God has done any 
thing for our souls, worthy of our gratitude and his grace, 
he has done it — not for our pleasure merely, but for the 
glory of his own name. 



SERMON V. 



-»»♦•#•««« 

EVERY MAN'S BUSINESS. 

1st Thessalonians, iv, 11. 

But we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more? 
and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, 
and to toork with your own hands, as we commanded you. 

The profession of Christianity, is a profession of love to 
God and man ; but Christianity itself, is the influence of 
such love in the heart, producing the fruits of righteousness. 
And this fact serves to explain the commendation in the con- 
text — " As touching brotherly love, ye have no need that I 
write unto you 5 for ye yourselves are taught of God to love 
one another ; and indeed ye do it towards all the brethren 
which are in Macedonia ; but we beseech you, brethren, 
that ye increase in these fruits of love more and more" — that 
ye excel in this grace, being manifestly under its influence in 
all the actions of life, little as well as great, common as well 
as peculiar ; never allowing yourselves to be governed by 
selfish and base motives, nor confining your love within nar- 
row limits ; but extending it wider and farther — acquiring 
such a habit of. doing every thing from the influence of this 
grace — that it shall be evident that all you say, and ail you 
8 



58 



SERMON V. 



do, and all you refrain from doing and saying, is the effect 
of that kindness, forgiveness, forbearance, and compassion, 
which shone so conspicuously in all the conduct of your di- 
vine Master. Among the fruits of this love, is an ambition 
to be useful, and not a burden to the church ; and a fervent 
desire to perform all our duties, to our families, to our 
neighbours, and to the community ; and by all the habits 
of a quiet, peaceable, industrious and godly life, to adorn 
the Christian profession. There is no other way to live 
honestly and contentedly — to avoid the evils of poverty, and 
a taxing of others for our support ; and to lay up something 
for distribution among the unfortunate, the needy, the sick ; 
and for extending the gospel to the destitute. No volunta- 
rily idle man is an honest man ; and no dishonest man has 
any thing of Christian charity. He defrauds the community 
of services to which they are entitled from him ; and takes 
the surest means to bring himself into a state of dependance 
on others. The duty of diligence in business, therefore, is, 
with christians, a fruit of love ; and it is enjoined, that ye 
may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that 
ye may have lack of nothing. To enforce this duty, is the 
single object of the present discourse. 

1. And in the first place, in order to observe this injunc- 
tion, and keep the precept as it has been delivered to us, it 
is necessary that every man in the community should have 
business of his own. Man is an active, and an imitative an- 
imal ; and if love do not employ him, the opposite passion 
will. He will serve some master ; and it will be God or 
Sin. He will imitate some one ; and it will be the useful, or 
the mischievous man. These are truths so obvious from 
our own observation, as to require no illustration. If man 
has no calling of his own, nor regular, stated occupation, it 
is impossible he should be " quiet." The activity of the hu- 
man mind is such, that without employment, it is sure to 



SERMON V. 



59 



prey upon itself— to become restless, discontented, and un- 
easy ; and never fails to become, by a chosen necessity, a 
busy body in other men's matters. Experience has always 
taught, that employment is absolutely necessary to one's 
own enjoyment, as well as to his usefulness to others ; and 
the wisdom and goodness of God are alike conspicuous, in 
so constituting man, that an idle, shall always be a wretched 
life : and mankind have very generally agreed, at least in 
tJteory, to denounce such a life, as mischievous to society. 
The Apostle, therefore, with very manifest propriety, has 
severely reproved all of both sexes, however easy their cir- 
cumstances, who indulge themselves in sloth. Nay, he has 
gone so far as to say, that such persons are unworthy of our 
countenance and our alms. "If any will not work, neither 
shall they eat." The law given to Adam, is binding upon 
all men, in the spirit, though not in the letter — "In the sweat 
of thy brow, thou shalt eat thy bread." In disobedience to 
this law, on the most generous construction, man becomes a 
nuisance to society. A great proportion of the convicts in 
our public places of confinement, are found to be from that 
cla?s of men, who have ceased to be diligent in their lawful 
calling ; or, who never had any. The door of the heart be- 
ing once opened by indolence, the most urgent temptations 
to dishonesty and crime, enter in : and if all indolent men 
do not reach these places of confinement, it is not because 
they are without crime, but because their crimes are of such 
a nature that the secular law has no cognizance of them ; or 
because the ingenuity of man contrives to evade the law. 
The Apostle very clearly intimates, that wherever there is 
wanting in men, a disposition to diligence in business, mis- 
chief follows. For no sooner had he said to the church in 
Thessalonica, " we commanded, when we were with you, 
that if any would not work, neither should he eat" — than he 
adds ; " for we hear that there are some among you which 



♦ 



eo 



SERMON V. 



walk disorderly, not working at all, but are busy bodies," 
that is, busy in doing nothing to good purpose. In the one 
sex, gossipping was their trade ; and in both, an intermed- 
dling in the private concerns of their neighbors. Far indeed 
from this, was the character of the church in Thessalonica 
generally- — yet some such, the Apostle found in it, when 
he visited them ; and therefore, when he wrote his second 
Letter to them, he commanded and exhorted them, by the 
authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they 
should labour, and eat the bread of their own industry ; and 
he bade the church to note the persons who refused obedi- 
ence to this injunction, and avoid their company, that they 
might be ashamed ; — and, by this means, be led to walk 
more worthy of the Christian name. This is the fruit of 
genuine love — to reclaim men from their faults, instead of 
covering them over by a spurious liberality. This is the 
charity, which hides a multitude of sins, without counten- 
ancing any. It is injustice to the really infirm and needy, 
for a man to refuse to do his part, as the idle man obliges 
himself to do, towards their relief. It is kindness to the indo- 
lent, therefore, as well as to the indigent, to persuade them, 
by all lawful means, to have business of their own ; and to 
note, as disorderly walkers, them who disobey this Apostolic 
command. 

It is, therefore, an example of the greatest tenderness of 
reproof, to say with the Apostle — " Let him that stole, steal 
no more ; but rather let him labour, working with his 
hands." It is better to engage in the most laborious and 
servile employment, if it be an honest one, than to rob God, 
and the community, of our active powers of body or mind : 
and far more honorable to ourselves, and ornamental to the 
human character, to be useful servants, than princely and idle 
masters. And generally it is true, that the poor, honest la- 
borer, is far more useful, and by means of his alms, more 



SERMON V. 



63 



generous too, than the idle speculator, who often grows rich 
by artifice, and not by diligence in business. 

It is evident then, that it is the will of God, that every 
man should have business of his own, sufficient to employ his 
time, and to occupy his mind : both to prevent him from be- 
ing hurtful and unhappy ; and also, to render him a bless- 
ing to his family and to the community. Happy would 
it be for society, could every man be persuaded to employ 
himself fully, even should he by so doing, earn but a poor 
subsistence ; and far better for the individual, however inde- 
pendent his circumstances, than to be earning nothing. 

2. In the second place, it is absolutely necessary, in or- 
der to obey this precept,, not only that a man actually have 
business of his own, but that he know what his business is — 
that is, that he ascertain accurately, what properly belongs 
to him, in the various relations of life, in distinction from 
the concerns of others. God has given every one of us, 
some work to do ; and by the one, or many talents, given 
us to occupy for him, and by the character of those talents, 
has indicated, with sufficient clearness, in what sphere of 
action, it is his will we should be employed. Men, I am 
aware, sometimes mistake their calling, and such men are to 
be pitied. But ordinarily, as the mind developes itself, we 
discover to what avocations God has adapted our minds, 
and what calling he would have us pursue ; and such is his 
wisdom and goodness, that very few, among all mankind, 
are fit for nothing. Every rational creature, if he be willing, 
may be useful in the church, and in the world, in a greater 
or less degree. But no one mind is fit for every thing. To 
avoid interference with others therefore, and to avoid the 
reproach of taking too much upon ourselves, it is of vast im- 
portance, that we should know ourselves, and the duties to 
which we are called in every relation of life. The man in 
private life who imagines himself qualified to counsel Coun- 



6,2 



SERMON V. 



sellors, and teach .Senators wisdom, may easily put his opin- 
ion to the test by waiting till the providence of God, and 
the voice of the country, call him to the duty : and the man 
of secular business, who sets himself up as the instructer, or 
censor of the Christian Ministry, may readily ascertain 
whether God has appointed him to this service, by humbly 
studying the precepts and injunctions of the gospel. There 
is no insuperable difficulty in knowing what our proper 
business is, provided we are willing to be confined to it. 
But when once the lofty imagination takes possession of a 
man's mind, that the whole burden of regulating society — 
and all the weight of care, belonging to every department 
of government, civil and ecclesiastical — and all the business 
of men of other professions, rests upon him ; it is unavoida- 
ble, that he should be ignorant of his own proper calling, 
and that he should become a busy-body in other men's, mat- 
ters. This illustration is sufficient to show the importance 
of knowing ourselves, and of diligently studying the chris- 
tian precepts, in order to restrain us from neglecting our< 
duties on the one hand, and from interfering with the con- 
cerns of our neighbors, on the other. I am sensible that it 
often requires a nice discernment, to guard against falling 
into one or the other of these errors — that vanity and self 
love, on the one side, urge us on beyond the bounds of 
duty ; and that on the other the fear of being thought offi- 
cious, and of intermeddling without warrant, draws us back 
from an attempt to do good, where we have it in our power. 
Still, the business of man in his several relations is so well 
defined in the gospel, that it far oftener happens, that we 
transgress those bounds, or come short of them, for want of 
consideration, and want of righteousness, than through in- 
yoluntary mistake concerning what love to God, and love to 
man, requires of us. If, for example, I see a man about to 
drown himself, or to set fire to my neighbour's dwelling, 



SERMON V. 63 

Selfishness may lead me to say, with Cain, I am not my 
brother's keeper ; but common sense teaches me, as well as 
the law of love to my neighbour, that it is my business, if 
possible, to prevent the threatened calamity ; though I am 
neither a magistrate, nor natural guardian to him, who is 
about to incur, or to do the mischief. It is necessary there- 
fore to know what properly belongs to us as men, as neigh- 
bours, as citizens, as parents, as children, as christians, in 
order to escape, on the one hand, the reproach of meddling 
with that which belongeth not to us ; and to avoid, on the 
other, the omission of the most sacred duties. The Apostle 
Peter is a beacon to christians on this subject ; and when 
he asked the Lord concerning John, " Lord, what shall this 
man do ?" Jesus answered, to his discomfiture — " What is that 
to thee ?" To incur such a rebuke from the Son of God, must, 
on a mind of religious sensibility, produce such a loss of 
self-esteem, as none of the pleasures of ofiicioiisness can ever 
compensate. 

3. But in the third place j to have business of our own, 
and to ascertain with clearness and satisfaction what God 
would have us to do, is not enough, unless we are willing and 
desirous to confine ourselves to it. 

There is a precept therefore, for all men, of universal 
bearing, and nearly parallel with the text. — It requires us 
to be, not slothful, but diligent in our business : increasing 
more and more, in that love to God which is the fulfilling of 
the command — That ye study to be quiet, and mind your 
own business — that every one of us attend faithfully to what 
belongs to him, and not to that which is, more properly, 
another man's. To enforce this precept, let us consider — 
First, that we have no time to spare, to do other men's busi- 
ness. God has given every man a great work to do for him- 
self; and has lent him no more time, than is necessary, with 
all the diligence he can use, to accomplish it. His duties 



64 



SERMON V. 



to his family, to his country, and to mankind, both secular 
and religious ; as well as his duty to his own soul, and to 
God, if faithfully performed, can leave him no leisure for do- 
ing another's work : and whoever attempts it, necessarily 
neglects his own, or does it ill. And, as "every one of us 
shall give account of himself to God," of every idle word, 
and idle hour, and injurious interference in the concerns of 
his neighbor, it is a very serious mischief to one's self, if to 
no other, to be adjudged a busy body in other men's mat- 
ters. We hear this kind of meddling spoken of with levity, 
or with wrath, and treat it as a venial error, and a light 
thing ; but it will not be so regarded, in the day of retribu- 
tion. When it shall be found, that the soul has been neg- 
lected, through inattention, or contempt of this precept. 
When God makes inquisition of a man, as of Adam, where 
art thou, and what hast thou done ? — When he shall ask, 
hast thou kept thine heart with all diligence, and is the soul, 
committed to thee, safe ? — And it shall be answered, it is 
lost : for as thy servant was busy here and there it was 
gone — then the crime of doing other men's business, and 
neglecting our own, will be discovered in its fatal conse- 
quences, and its folly and guilt will be seen in its author's 
ruin. Then, the secret will be revealed, which man has so 
little curiosity now to learn, that those who complain that 
they have no time to attend to religion, were straitened, only 
because, in doing the business of others, they squandered the 
time which should have been employed in performing their 
own. So true is that saying of the Apostle, " let every man 
prove his own work, then he shall have rejoicing in himself 
and not in another." What motive, more powerful, can we 
reasonably ask, to produce in us a diligent attention to our 
" own business," and to lead us to a faithful performance of 
our several duties? 

There is, however, another argument, worthy of equaL 



SERMON V. 



65 



nay, of superior influence, presented us in the example of 
Jesus Christ. He has not left us to the naked command of 
God, or to his own most wise and holy injunction ; but has 
left us an example, that we should walk in his steps. He 
was seasonally engaged about his Father's business, and al- 
ways duly solicitous to finish the work which was given 
him to do. He loved his own proper work, and did it ; and 
was, for this, pronounced " holy, harmless, undefiled, and 
separate from sinners." And though importuned by one of 
his hearers — who perceived that he spoke with great au- 
thority, so that all nature obeyed him — to interpose and 
command an unjust brother to divide his Father's estate with 
him, he utterly declined, saying ; " Man ! who made me a 
judge or divider over */ow." O ! how unlike those officious, 
prating men, who are always ready to divide the rich man's 
property for him- — who clamor against the legacies and be- 
quests of the dead, who had a right to do what they would 
with their own — and who intermeddle, in every affair of 
Church and State, of neighborhoods and societies, in which 
they have no command, with which they have no connexion, 
and concerning which, their censorious and complaining 
voice ought never to be heard. Such, are not the followers 
of Christ; or they follow him so far off, that it is to be fear- 
ed they will never overtake him. Surely, to imitate his ex- 
ample, they have one sin to break off, which they have not 
yet repented of — one sin to confess, and forsake, which they 
hardly believe to be a sin — before they can reasonably hope 
to find forgiveness. And this sin, my brethren, most com- 
monly exists, and prevails, in communities who suffer most, 
for want of employment. Wo, therefore, to them, who say, 
like the wasteful steward, from mere indolence, " I cannot 

Jesus Christ very frequently reminded his disciples, of the 
shortness of his time — the nearness of his departure out of 





66 



SERMON V. 



tlie world — and of the necessity of being earnestly, and con- 
stantly engaged, to complete the service he came into the 
world to perform. This was reason enough, for declining 
to do the work of others. But it is a reason which as much 
-applies to us, and ought as much to affect and influence us, as 
it did the Saviour of the world. His example, in this respect, 
has all the force of a law, and who can say he loves him 3 
while he yet strives not, in this particular, to be like him. 
Brethren, let us not love in word, or in tongue merely, but 
in deed and in truth. 

But there are, perhaps, some men who will not be influ- 
enced by either of the motives already suggested — who, not- 
withstanding, are capable of being moved by other consider- 
ations. To all such, I would suggest the necessity of being 
diligent in their own proper business, in order to being good 
citizens. All men agree, whether they believe in Christ, or 
not, that those who are most uslformly governed by the pre- 
cepts of the gospel, make the most peaceable, and useful 
members of society :— and none of my hearers, I trust, are 
so lost, as to say, they are willing to be either mischievous, 
or useless members of the community. Yet surely, every 
man is worse than useless, who serves neither God nor man. 
And to serve God is impossible, but by keeping his com- 
mandments ; and it is no less impossible, to do any good to 
the community, or not to do it harm, by neglecting our own 
concerns, and obstructing other men, in theirs. Admitting 
that there is less encouragement than formerly, to honest in- 
dustry, yet it is better for society, and better for one's self, to 
labour without a full reward for his services, than to do 
nothing ; and far better than to do hurt.* And to mar the 
peace, and interrupt the work of others, is the natural con- 

*This Discourse was preached, when the community was suffering under 
commercial depression. 



SERMON V, 



67 



sequence of having no work of our own. Those among the 
Athenians, who spent their time in doing nothing, but to hear 
and tell what was going on among their neighbors, are men- 
tioned, by the author of the Acts of the Apostles, with an 
expression which implies a severe censure of their idleness. 
And then, it is to be remembered, that the less the reward 
for labour, the more diligence is necessary to procure an 
adequate subsistence. There always have been periods, in 
the history of every people, when discouragements to enter- 
prize and industry have produced strong temptations to idle- 
ness. But he that fainteth in such days of adversity, his 
strength is small. "There is a tide in the affairs of men," 
and when the current sets against us, it will certainly carry 
us away, if we do not labour the harder against it. And he 
who refuses to tug at the oar, because that tide is against 
him, is entitled to the character, neither of a wise, nor faith- 
ful servant. The hand of God moves this tide, and we can 
control our own destiny, no further than we submit* alike to 
his providential and preceptive will. 

Inasmuch, then* as we are forbidden to enter into tempta- 
tion, and when tempted, forbidden to submit without resist- 
ance, we should avoid alike the indolence which is the parent 
of temptation to officiousness, to censoriousness, and conse- 
quently to strife and every evil work ; and whether we wish 
to honor Christ, or to bless mankind — -to dwell in heaven, 
or to be useful on earth — to escape ruin ourselves, or avoid 
harming others — let us listen to the injunction of the text, 
and to the entreaty of Apostolic love, that we increase more . 
and more, in the same moral excellence, studying to be 
quiet and peaceable, minding each one his own business, as 
God has commanded us, and so the God of love and peace 
will be with us. 

This subject may be applied with peculiar force to those 
who neglect any duty on the ground of their dependance* 



6a SERMON V. 

We are as dependant on God for our disposition to work, 
as for our disposition to repent of our sins ; and yet, if any 
man will not work, the Apostle says, neither shall he eat ; 
and all honest men fully subscribe to the equity of this 
judgment. In like manner, God says to every sinner, how- 
ever dependant for a right disposition — except he repent he 
shall perish ; and with equal readiness, we ought to perceive 
and feel, and subscribe to the righteousness of this decision. 
Judge, then, of your ownselves, ye who condemn the idle 
vagrant or busy body, who excuses his sin because God has 
not given him a better disposition, whether, in so doing, you 
do not judge and condemn yourselves, for neglecting your 
duty because you have not the disposition to do it 1 



SERMON VI. 



A FUNERAL SERMON ON THE LIVING. 

Psalm xlix. If. 

JVlien he dieth he shall carry nothing away : his glory shall not 
descend after him. 

Hear this, all ye people ! Give ear to it, all the inhab- 
itants of the world — both low and high, rich and poor to- 
gether : for the conviction of it shall be wisdom, and the 
meditation of it shall be understanding. Let the wise of 
this world hear it ; for they must die. Let the fool and the 
brutish person hear it ; for they likewise shall perish. Let 
the rich hear it, whose inward thought is, that their houses 
shall continue forever ; and the ambitious, who call their 
lands after their own names ; and let their posterity hear it, 
who approve their sayings, and boast themselves in the mul- 
titude of their possessions : for they too, like sheep, are to be 
laid in the grave, and their beauty is to consume, afar from 
their dwelling. And, bless his soul who will, while he 
lives, and praise him, as men may, while he does well for 
himself, each of them shall go to the generation of his 
fathers ; and they who are in honor, and without under- 



70 



SERMON VI. 



standing, shall never see light. For when a wicked man 
diet!*, his expectation shall perish. I press this considera- 
tion now, because now, no evil imputation will divert the at- 
tention from the subject, to him who urges it : — because, 
when an unchristian acquaintance dies, our mouths, in rela- 
tion to his character and state, are sealed in silence. Deli- 
cacy and tenderness toward the living forbid us to say, what 
we unavoidably think ; and an apprehension, that we can 
benefit the living as little as the dead, constrains us to sigh 
in secret ; and sometimes, perhaps, prevents us from utter- 
ing what we ought. A regard to the feelings of surviving 
friends, and a fear of tearing wider the wound which death 
has opened, checks our resolution to make the wisest use of 
the improvidence of the dead, and restrains us from apply- 
ing the important truths of which it forcibly reminds us. 

These considerations, connected with the fear of conceal- 
ing from mortals the most interesting facts, induce me to an- 
ticipate the funeral of the impenitent, and to say in his hear- 
ing, rather than at his grave, what would then be to him un- 
availing — what may now be profitable unto all. 

Imagine yourself then, child of the world, and slave of sin! 
imagine yourself stretched upon the bier ; and your soul, 
hovering, unseen, around these walls, and listening to the 
voice of God, which now addresses you : — "When he dieth, 
he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend 
after him." Conceive, in short, that you are hearing your 
own funeral sermon ; and make application of it to your 
present character and state : and the Spirit of God, perhaps, 
may make^tthe means of awakening you to righteousness — 
of saving your soul from remorse, and that of some surviving 
friend from anguish. 

There — in such case we should say, looking anxiously 
around upon the assembly — there lies the body of a world- 
ling ! One who loved not God — one of the number who 



SERMON VI. 



71 



often sat with us in the place of worship, to hear the word. 
He was one of those favored few in our miserable world, 
who heard the messages of salvation ; who were instructed 
in the duties of Christianity, warned of the deceitfulness of 
sin, and taught the way to life and immortality. But he 
was a sinner. He loved the world ; and in the earth, and 
the rubbish of earthly good, he buried all his thoughts. 
The love of the Father was not in him. He saw, in the Sa- 
viour of sinners, no beauty that he should desire him ; and 
he was a stranger to the duties and pleasures of communion 
with a reconciled God. Such is the character over which 
we mourn. He laid up many treasures on earth, but he 
failed to secure a mansion, and a portion, in the kingdom of 
heaven. In an unexpected hour, God has summoned him to 
judgment ; and we are left to profit by the reflections the 
event has suggested, and to meditate on such a character 
and such an end ! 

Let us now collect ourselves — Let us coolly look over 
all of his possessions, native and acquired, and all which 
could have delighted him, and see how the word of God is 
verified ; — how, of all the treasures he had amassed, and of 
all the glory he had gotten, nothing has descended after 
him, nothing has been carried with him, to nourish and 
comfort him in the country to which he has departed. 

1. In the first place, those exterior accomplishments, to 
the acquisition of which, he successfully devoted the morn- 
ing of his days, are lost to him forever. To his native 
comeliness of form, and beauty of proportions, he added, 
by an assiduous cultivation of his manners, all that is grace- 
ful in the person, and winning in the beholder's eye. He 
moved with elegance in the dance, charmed the social circle 
with the ease and gracefulness of his conversation ; and 
every instrument of music, lost its power of attraction, in 
the superior sweetness of his song. Festive joys, and their 



72 SERMON VI. 

commanding influence, were all overlooked by means of the 
presence of this convivial guest ; and even sensibility for- 
got her pleasures, and envy hissed in secret, because of the 
acknowledged charms of his society. 

But the evil day has come : his sun has set : his native 
beauty is consumed as a moth-eaten garment. Those 
sprightly limbs move no more in the dance, and all the 
daughters of music are brought low. The door of the 
guest-chamber no more opens to receive him — -his tongue 
is no longer the pen of a ready writer — the spirit has return- 
ed to God who gave it, and the mourners go about the 
streets. And is not he a mourner too ? What, of all these 
accomplishments, has he carried with him to the grave ; and 
what, of all the glory they yielded him, has descended with 
him to the tomb ! Senseless as any other heap of earth, 
there lies his body — and yonder, stripped of all its glory, 
empty and naked, flits away the soul. 

2. But let us suppose, in the second place, that he had 
gotten all the means of pleasure ; and, initiated into the 
mysteries of her court, knew how to give sensitive gratifica- 
tion its highest relish. He had learned to make all his 
senses, the inlets of high enjoyment ; and to exclude, from 
an entrance into\is heart, whatever of sober thought, and 
saddening influence, checked the current of delight. He 
had learned to evade the troubles common to man's state ; 
and by hastening on from tried, to novel scenes of entertain- 
ment ; and by changing often, the objects of animal gratifi- 
cation — his viands and his books, his climate and his com- 
panions, and his countless instruments of pleasure — he had 
learned to be ever sipping, and yet never cloyed by tasting, 
of the cup of sensual joy. But the curtain has fallen ! The 
drama of his delight is closed. The eye, the ear, the palate, 
and all the organs on whose action his pleasures were sus- 
pended, are now locked up within that coffin, and his con- 



SERMON VI. 



nection with them is dissolved. He is cut off from all his 
chosen scenes of entertainment, and sources of enjoyment ; 
and which of the streams has followed him to the tomb . ? 

3. But suppose, in the third place, he had acquired 
great possessions : that he lived, not merely to eat and drink, 
and to gratify sensual desire ; but that he rose with the sun, 
and did eat the bread of carefulness ; and for the success of 
his daily toil, men blessed him ; and, for the reward of his 
industrious life, he saw around him many fields which his 
labours had acquired, and groves his hands had planted, and 
an enlarged fold of flocks and herds, full barns, and houses 
loaded with the rich fruits of his toil. He had much enjoy- 
ment in looking back upon his beginning, in calculating 
his gains, in surveying the products of his ingenuity, of his 
successful schemes for accumulating treasures, and in con- 
templating his superior affluence, to that of men of equal 
strength of sagacity, and equal advantages in business. 
Envy saw him, and was grieved : he looked down and 
blessed the soul surrounded with abundance. 

Behold him now ! His soul required of him ; and his 
body, worn out in the service of Mammon, lost to the enjoy- 
ment of all these possessions. He labored to be rich — suc- 
ceeded — and died ! Which now, of all his variety of posses- 
sions, does he call his own ? Ask him of his lands — he gives 
you no answer. Offer him the choicest of his idols — -death 
has taken them from him, and what has he left ? Talk of his 
acquisitions — the glory of them can go no further after him. 
than to the monument over his grave ; and there, his des- 
cendants are ashamed to write his real character. Can he 
now say, Soul take thine ease ; thou hast much goods in 
store ? Before that soul shall again animate the body, by 
whose joint influence those goods were acquired, they will 
have been burned up, and he will reclaim his golden gods 
in vain. Nothing, then, on which he has set his heart, has 
10 



74 



SERMON VI. 



gone with him to comfort him — nothing to feed his passions : 
for every thing which was corporeal is left below, and his 
spirit is confined to a state, in which no carnal passion can 
ever be gratified. 

4. But, in the fourth place, you will tell me he had a 
vigorous mind ; and, that among all his gettings, he was not 
neglectful of intellectual acquisitions. I grant you the fact, 
I will admit that he was fitted, like Newton, to explore the 
worlds which revolve in yonder heavens ; that with Locke, 
he could survey that darker world, the human understand- 
ing ; that with the Statesman he could guide the wheels of 
government, and teach senators wisdom : and that with the 
Academician, he was qualified to train to future greatness 
the aspiring youthful mind, and even the master with the 
scholar. But mark you now, how empty is that skull ! 
adorned once, with all the learning of the sage, and richly 
stored with all the fruits which human science ever matured. 
But its knowledge was only of this world — a knowledge of 
the head, which, without religion, only puffeth up, and 
which like the world itself, to whose use it was confined, 
was destined of God to vanish away. His mental acquisi- 
tions were of that kind only, which do but engender pride, 
and minister to its condemnation. And what advantage, 
what comfort has he, over the ideot and the fool, so long as 
his intellectual attainments have not advanced him a step in 
the kingdom of God ; and so his eminence served only to 
render more commanding the prospect before him, and more 
terrible the height from which he is precipitated. Alas ! 
he has carried nothing of science away with him, which he 
can apply, in so different a state, for his consolation. His 
glory, indeed, is left behind on monumental marble, on the 
column of the Capitol, the canvass of the Senate-chamber, 
or the parchment of the Academic register ; but there it is 
doomed to perish, instead of following him, like the good 



SERMON VI. 



75 



works of the Christian, to the tribunal of his judge, and suc- 
cessfully advocating there, his title, through faith, to the 
inheritance of the sons of God. 

5. But, in the fifth place, he had a reputation and a fame 
which survive him ; and, as the power of reflection is not 
lost with the animal life, shall he not at least by a retrospec- 
tive employment, beguile the darkness of his descending 
way ? Those cheering praises, which followed him through 
all the walks of life — which met him when he went out, and 
went after him when he returned to the privacies of domes- 
tic retirement — and the fame, which promised him a post- 
humous immortality — shall not they, by the exercise of 
man's prerogative, break through even the barrier of the 
grave, and open one avenue, through which pleasure shall 
find an entrance to his soul I Forlorn and wretched ex- 
pectation ! One paean, even while here, must rise upon 
another ; and one voice follow another, and echo his 
praises, and prolong his fame, to supply the gratifi- 
cation of his ruling passion. How then, in a condition 
where the voice of man is no longer heard, and in which 
the trump of fame is changed into the vision and the 
transparencies of truth, shall such reflections cheer his 
heart ? There is no correspondence, between the reflec- 
tions of the world of spirits, and the lying vanities of this 
illusive state. There is no connection, between departed 
spirits, and flesh and blood. Between us and them, there 
is a great gulph fixed, across which, no communications are 
borne : for so, the word of God would be belied, and work, 
device, and knowledge of things present, would survive an 
entrance to the grave. We leave, to the credulity of chil- 
dren, the apparitions of the dead ; and to thern, who dream 
in the wakefulness of the fanatic, the fancy of conversing 
with departed spirits ; and binding our faith to the word of 
God, we affirm, that the dead know not any thing of the 



76 



SERMON VI. 



living,* and have no more a portion in any thing done un- 
der the sun. Even the reputation for piety, therefore, 
which, through sinful confidence in men, so nourished their 
hopes, and fortified their presumption and security, when 
living, withdraws its poor and withered consolations from 
the spirits of the dead ; and in the realities of unshrouded 
consciousness, that reputation is obliviated : all is gone, but 
the lines which memory draws of the vanity of sinful expec- 
tations. 

Thus lives the departed spirit — unable to avoid that 
presence of its abused God, which it too successfully at- 
tempted, while in the body, to shun. Stripped of all which 
ministered to its pleasure when united to it, and separated 
from all the instruments of its enjoyment ; all its habits 
broken — its modes of thought, and of existence, changed — 
void of good when looking forward, and without one object 
of refreshing contemplation when it looks behind ! So is 
eVery one when he dieth, who layeth up treasures only on 
the earth, and is not rich towards God. 

But I have shown you hitherto, only the negative evils, 
which God has appointed to that soul ; and these are but its 
lesser evils. For, although we can readily conceive one's 
wretchedness to be excessive, when only deprived of the in- 

* The Author has a right to his own opinion, though some have taught a 
different doctrine. The passages from Ecclesiastes will not support him ; 
since the object of that book is not so much to teach direct truth, as to 
give us a picture of the confused speculations of a mind, distracted by 
doubt as to the chief happiness of man. On any other supposition, the 
book would teach flat infidelity. For example — Chap. iii. verse 19 — "For 
that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts ; even one thing be- 
falleth them : as the one dieth, so dieth the other." Consider this, as the 
soliloquy of a heart, seeking repose in unbelief, and it is easily explained ; 
but if it is direct doctrine, it is very dark. Angels know, and are interested 
in, the affairs of this world ; and is it clear that its events are unknown to 
tbe dead ? 



SERMON VI. 



77 



siruments on which it has always depended for enjoyment; 
yet such would be a state comparatively tolerable, might the 
soul be allowed to hope to form new associations, new habits, 
and obtain new sources of gratification for its passions. But 
for such a hope, there is not in all the book of God, a soli- 
tary support — 

6. But, in the sixth place, the word of God assures us 
that all the means of gratification shall at death be taken away 
from the worldling. The new companions of his soul, shall be 
a source of more vexation, and greater terror, than the old. 
These companions, it is explicitly told us, are spirits of 
greater malignity, and power, than himself — spirits, before 
their defection from God, of greater eminence in knowledge, 
and in power ; and who, having lost nothing of Those attri- 
butes, are capable of becoming more extensively mischievous 
to the apostates of our race. To the land of despair then, 
the wicked man cannot carry the means he now enjoys, 
either of present comfort, with creatures like himself; nor 
the means at present in his possession, of avoiding their 
doom and of becoming happy. He lodges now, with the 
hopeless, and therefore, with the most malignant. His soui 
is bej^ond the region of invitation, of repentance, and par- 
don and praise. No messenger from earth, and (as Christ 
has shown us, in the Parable of the rich man and Lazarus,) 
none from heaven, descends with the good tidings. He 
hears it said no more, " he that believeth shall be saved" — 
There is an end to faith when vision comes. No sabbath 
there opens the gates of the sanctuary, and points to a refuge 
from guilt. No ambassador of God, looking across the 
gulph, is suffered to cry in fervent prayer, God be merciful 
to that sinner. The door is shut, and the means of salva- 
vation and the end together, too long disregarded, are for- 
ever lost. His pious friends will no more wet his pillow 
with their tears ; the pity of angels no longer desire to look 



78- 



SERMON VI. 



into his condition ; and the compassion of a dying and in* 
terceding Saviour, no longer defer the execution of the 
threatened evil, when, to him, the great day of his wrath is 
come. 

If such be the condition — Immortal hearer ! of the depart- 
ed sinner : if he have indeed, carried nothing away which 
his heart held dear, nor even the means of becoming better, 
which he held not dear ; then, what remains to his soul but 
remorse and wretchedness ineffable ! It can remember its 
former pleasures, only to regret their loss ; its former ad- 
vantages, only to lament their abuse ; and listen to the an- 
thems above, only to know, with indescribable pain, that it 
has no portion in those songs of elevated joy; and feel the 
dereliction and the displeasure of God, without the possibil- 
ity of diverting the thoughts from these objects of contem- 
plation, by the enjoyments of an animal nature, and the grati- 
fication of animal passions. 

If therefore, he suffer only from what he has actually lost, 
his sufferings must be extreme ; for it is his all. But when 
to that, is added the positive punishment threatened to the 
unholy, his wretchedness becomes such as mortal eye hath 
not seen, nor ear heard — such as has scarcely entered into 
the heart of man, on this side the grave, to conceive. 

Thus, heir of the wisdom which descendeth not from 
above ! I have labored to place you, in your own view, in 
the condition to which every impenitent sinner is destined : 
and though the imagination, which has thus for a little time 
laid you in the grave, can also bring you back again ; yet 
I entreat you to remember, that what / have imagined, ex- 
cept you repent, you will ere long realize. And should it 
be so — should you indeed carry nothing away with you, in 
which you now delight ; and should nothing of the glory 
you have yet obtained, descend after you — I entreat you to 
enquire diligently, what, in the multitude of your thoughts 



SERMON VI. 



79 



within you, (for thought you will still retain) what comforts, 
will delight your soul ! And O ! what alleviation of their 
sorrows, in such case, will you leave for your surviving 
friends ? And though, from prudential motives, no man 
should repeat to them, at your death, this train of evangeli- 
cal reflections, they will nevertheless be just. Though now, 
you may think them incorrect, they will remain none the 
less true. The believer in Jesus, looks beyond the grave. 
He, faintly indeed, but truly, apprehends, the state of those 
who die impenitent, to be what from the inspired record I 
have imperfectly, but faithfully described ; and your bereav- 
ed friends, though they will not, cannot express these truths, 
will still almost unavoidably find them revived in their 
minds : and you yourself, more miserable still, with agoniz- 
ing power will feel them all. 

If then, there be any thing novel in the elucidation, to 
render the truth impressive — any thing forcible in the meth- 
od of its application — for your friends' sake, for your own 
sake, shrink not from the appeal now made to your 
understanding, your sympathy, your sensibility ; but 
yield to the conviction that you must repent or perish — 
that the world, and all it can impart, cannot be gain to you, 
in exchange for your soul ; and choose a part, and pursue a 
portion, which you can carry away ; and seek a glory, an 
honor, a fame, which will descend after you, and never leave 
from following you, till it have fulfilled the every promise 
of Jehovah to the just. 

We see now, what cause the Christian indeed, has, to be 
contented with his lot. With a holy temper, he possesses 
not merely the one, but the every thing, which is needful. 
And is it possible such an one should repine ? If you are a 
Christian, you have the spirit of Jesus Christ ; and with 
this, you are happy, whether in poverty or in affluence — • 
whether loved or hated, and whether you remain in the 



80 



SERMON VI. 



body or depart. God is your portion, and heaven your in-* 
heritance. You indeed, no less than the wicked, hasten to 
the grave ; but with what different emotions, and to how 
different a destiny ! They carry nothing with them, of all 
they loved — -you leave nothing of this character behind, but 
what shall soon follow you. When they die, survivors weep 
only for them, like Christ at the gate of devoted Jerusalem. 
Their tears, when you die, fall not for you, but for them- 
selves. Theirs, on the death bed, if not obdurate as the 
nether millstone, are emotions of unutterable horror — Yours 
in a similar condition, of joy unspeakable, and full of glory. 
The wicked go to a region like their souls — a region of 
thick darkness ; but the humble believer, to a region of 
light and joy unspeakable. At the voice of the archangel 
and the trump of God, the wicked will resume the connec- 
tion with their bodies, only to endure the visible marks of 
shame and everlasting contempt — the righteous, at the same 
moment, to appear in the likeness of Christ's glorious body, 
and to perfect the holiness and happiness, his grace has 
pledged, to all his faithful followers. Consider what has 
been said : and say, in the undissembled language of the 
heart, whether it be better, to take the character, the glory, 
and the destiny of the worlding ; or to live and die a chris- 
tian ! 



SERMON VII. 



CHRISTIAN DILIGENCE, 

Hebrews vi. 11 , 12. 

And ice desire — that ye he not slothful, but followers of them toKo 
tlwoiigh faith and patience inherit the promises. 

I KNOW of no one virtue more frequently inculcated, or 
to which promises of greater interest are made in the Gos- 
pel, than that of Christian Diligence, It is to this, the 
Apostle ascribes the attainment of fortitude, knowledge, tem- 
perance, patience, godliness and charity. It is only by 
eminence in it, that we arrive at the full assurance of hope, 
and make our calling and our election sure. The Apostle 
Peter, in sight of the heavens on fire, and the dissolving 
earth, and a God descending to judgment, sums up the whole 
duty of man, in this pressing exhortation — "Wherefore be- 
loved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent ; that 
ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blame- 
less." Emulous of so vast a good as is comprehended in 
this description, man, aspiring and immortal, but mistaking 
its nature and place, has sought it in every object below the 
skies ; traversed uninhabited continents, explored every field 
U 



82 



SERMON VII. 



of science, and fathomed every ocean. But with the depth, 
each in turn has said, " it is not in me." It cannot, there- 
fore, but be worthy of our enterprize, to make ourselves ac- 
quainted with the virtuous course, at the end of which, God 
assures us it will be found ; and also, with some considera- 
tions calculated to enforce the duty of leaving every other 
course, to follow the bright career of those, who, by this 
means, are now actually inheriting the promises. 

I. Let us first make ourselves acquainted with that vir- 
tue, to which so much is promised. 

Christian diligence has for its end, the glory and enjoy- 
ment of God, in opposition to every other species of aggran- 
dizement : it has the character of decision, in opposition to 
procrastination : of activity, in opposition to listlessness and 
sloth : of vigilance, in opposition to incaution : and of per- 
severance and constancy, in opposition to discouragement. 

1. Christian diligence, in the first place, has the glory 
land enjoyment of God for its end, in opposition to every 
other species of aggrandizement. 

To be diligent, without regard to the end, is, confessedly, 
no virtue ; and for an unworthy end, as obviously a crime. 
But, on christian principles, his end only is entitled to the 
character of virtuous, who, not slothful in business, is fervent 
in spirit, serving the Lord. The perfections of God, his 
works, and his relation to us, give him an exclusive and per- 
fect claim, to our first and best affections. His glory was 
the end of all his works, and especially of the creation of 
man, whom he made eminently for himself, and for the ex- 
press purpose of declaring his glory. He, of consequence, 
who will not voluntarily co-operate with him to the same 
end, is, by the very law of his being, destitute of moral 
worth, and incapable of the enjoyment, which only the love 
of the Deity can beget or confer. Without this, therefore, 
for his primary end, all his labors terminate on object? 



/ 



SERMON VH. 



83 



whose pursuit is criminal ; and in whose nature is contained 
a source of enjoyment, neither permanent nor pure. And 
when God, at the close of his labours, shall make inquisition, 
(as he will do of every man) his mouth will be stopped, by 
the inquiry into their design — "have ye done it at all unto 
me P Or, if he have the daring to put in a plea for the 
reward of his unchristian labours, another inquiry will con- 
found all his expectations — who required these at your 
hands ? 

2. Christian diligence has the character of decision, in 
opposition to procrastination. When it is convenient— con- 
sidered as a reply to the command of God — is the answer of 
a rebellious heart. Nothing is required of us to-morrov:. 
We are creatures of a day ; therefore it is said, " to-day, if 
ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." To-mor- 
row, should it come, will bring with it its own full share of 
duties ; and if those of to-day be postponed to it, they will 
be omitted by a necessity of our own making. The very 
will to delay, therefore, is destructive of the nature of vir- 
tue : for no man performs, his duty, but he who prevents the 
possibility of his never doing it : and who does not know, 
that his times are in God's hands. To fix on a future peri- 
od, for the exercise of faith in the Redeemer, benevolence to 
rational beings, penitence for sin, and gratitude and hope 
towards God, is actually to deny our obligations : it is virtu- 
ally to reject the reign of God, and the whole system of 
Christianity ; and he who does this, is lost. Such an one 
debases his rational nature below mere instinct: for the 
stork in the heavens, knoweth her appointed time ; and the 
turtle, the crane, and the swallow observe it. Delay of any 
duty, to God or man, a moment beyond the season in which 
it is required of God, is incompatible with Christian dili- 
gence : else, the wisdom of God had not concealed from us 
the term of our life, and the bound of our habitation. To- 



84 



SERMON VII. 



day, you have wealth to employ, as the steward of God f 
to-morrow, its wings shall be fledged, and it will fly away, 
as an eagle, towards the heavens. To-day, you have an 
altar, on which to offer spiritual sacrifices by Jesus Christ : 
to-morrow, it shall be digged down. To-day, you have all 
the attributes of a man : to-morrow, reason shall be taken to 
its native skies. Decision, then, in opposition to procrasti- 
aation r is an essential characteristic of Christian diligence. 

3. It has also, in the third place, the character of activity^ 
in opposition to sloth. God has made us for action ; and 
therefore, with a consistency worthy of him, promised noth- 
ing to sloth. " Do it with thy might," is the command of 
the lawgiver : abounding in the work of the Lord, the des- 
cription of the obedient. Outer darkness, and gnashing of 
teeth, is the portion of the wicked and slothful servant. 
The joint activity of mind, heart, and members of the body, 
is essential to the performance of every duty, in every rela- 
tion. Without it, we can never have the knowledge neces- 
sary to sanctify our zeal, nor the zeal which is necessary to 
goodness. The bed of effeminacy is a soil, in which no vir- 
tues flourish. Of the Christian life, a race, and a warfare, 
are the images \ and who would think of taking his ease in 
a race, or talk of moderation in a battle ! Irresolution was 
never known to gain the one, nor sluggishness to win the 
other. These are qualities, ever accompanied with empti- 
ness of virtue, and followed with poverty of possession. 

4. Christian diligence, in the fourth place, has the char- 
acter of vigilance, in opposition to slumber and incaution. 
It is no inconsiderable part of pure and undefiled religion, 
to keep unspotted from the world : and to be found of God 
in peace, without spot and blameless, is the very object of 
the virtue we describe. A careless traveller, in a strange 
land of many paths, must be expected to lose his way. The 
ship will hardly fail to be stranded, which approaches the 



SERMON VIL 



85 



coast in a tempest, with every mariner below. The heed- 
less on slippery places, must fall : and the centinel, who 
sleeps when the camp is surprised, must die. 

Who then, has the temerity to hope to keep himself, with- 
out watchfulness, in the midst of artful enemies without, and 
insidious and ensnaring foes within ? In the midst of a world," 
where all is alluring and false — all fiction, and disguise. 
Let him who is so weak, so credulous, and incautious, re- 
member that what the Lord said unto his disciples, he said 
unto all — " Watch." 

5. Finally, Christian diligence has the character of per- 
severance and constancy, in opposition to discouragement. 
Though the songs of syrens echo from behind, and the flesh 
pots of Egypt send after him their odours ; though before 
him, is the painfulness of incessant labour, the fatigue of 
watchful and wearisome nights, and the crosses of an op- 
posing flesh, and the scoffs of a profane and calumniating 
world ; and " though rocks and dangers fill the way 3 ' — it 
remains the judgment of God, that he who looketh back, or 
lingers in his step, is unfit for the kingdom of heaven. And 
though hope keep forward, and often disappears as he 
mounts after her to one eminence over another ; and though, 
with all his exertion, he is still behind — yet, on the very 
banner under which he first enlisted, he still reads the in- 
scription THROUGH MUCH TRIBULATION WE MUST ENTER 

THE KINGDOM : VALOR BEFORE CONFLICT, CONFLICT BEFORE 

victory, and victory before the spoil. And under all 
this, it is written, if any man draw back, my soul shall 

HAVE NO PLEASURE IN HIM. 

All who hear, have been made acquainted with their duty 
and with the desire of every benevolent heart ; and now, that 
you may be induced to perform that duty, and to fulfil that 
holy desire — 

II. Look to the departed pious friends of man ; and re- 



86 



SERMON VII. 



member that though they have done with earth, -we have not 
done with them, when we have laid them in the tomb. The 
eye, indeed, no longer dwells upon their persons, the ear no 
more listens to their counsels : but faith follows their im- 
mortal spirits, and communes with them in glory. Retrace 
the paths they trod, and derive some salutary lesson from 
the end to which they led. Their histories are recorded in 
our memories, and our bibles, that by their example we may 
be urged to duty. None of them lived, none died, to him- 
self. And now God commands us, and they intreat us, to 
follow them, through faith and patience, to the same exalted 
state. They inherit the promises : to follow them, is to gain 
the same inheritance. They stand before the throne of God ; 
they dwell in the city of the great King : travelling the 
same way, with equal alacrity, will bring us to the same 
temple, and the same God. They have escaped all dan- 
gers, and overcome all enemies : under the same Captain, 
girded with the same armor, and contending with like earn- 
estness, we also shall escape, and triumph. Let their vir- 
tues then, excite our emulation, their success, encourage our 
efforts. 

Are you a christian ? much remains to be done, to make 
you complete in all the will of God. Are you a sinner — 
unpardoned and unsanctified — every thing is to be done to 
fit you for their society. The duty we are enforcing is mo- 
mentous. Our years are departing, our day declines, our 
life will soon be gone. The saints call on us from heaven ; 
the prisoners of despair from the abyss ; the whole congre- 
gation of the dead from their graves ; and wisdom from the 
oracles of God, to do our duty now. The Redeemer, in 
striking coincidence of thought and language, repeats the 
monition — " I must work, while it is day : the night cometh, 
in which no man can work." 

But to some of us only a fragment of life remains ; and 



SERMON VIL 



8? 



what fervor of prayer, what strength of resolution, what fru- 
galitj' of every means of grace, is necessary to discipline 
and mature the mind, and fit the spirit for a place, where 
nothing enters that defileth ! Have we a christian profession 
to adorn — a world to bless — a heaven to gain — a God to 
glorify — and can we sink upon the lap of earthly pleasure, 
and slumber in inglorious ease, and while away our life in 
frivolous pursuits ? Have we to change the whole current of 
our way — to eradicate prejudices, growing from our youth — 
to subdue our inclinations — to dam, or drain, a flood of 
iniquity — to surmount a thousand temptations, and over- 
come the world — and is all this compatible with ordinary in- 
dustry and zeal ? The spirits in yonder heavens, thought 
not so. They were ardent, and vigorous in application 
to the one thing. Grand designs were never formed, 
much less accomplished, by any other means. Nor of 
all designs formed, by man, does any surpass in great* 
ness, that of a sinner to obtain the approbation of God, 
and the society of the blessed in heaven. Feeble efforts 
must leave these objects un attained. Agonize to enter, is a 
direction, in neglect of which a man perishes at the gate. 
Not an exception is found in heaven. We have the same 
natures that they possessed, who have gone before us, and 
now inherit the promises ; and living in the same world, 
must exercise the same self-denial and engagedness. Could 
they gain access to God only through the mediator — neither 
can we. Were the graces of the Holy Spirit, given only to 
their fervent and upright prayers — and shall we obtain them 
in answer to supplications of any other character ? Did they 
work out their salvation with fear and trembling — and shall 
that infinite good be bestowed on you, without solicitude, 
and energetic co-operation with him who wrought in them ? 
Did not faith without works save them — and shall a barren 
subscription to creeds and covenants, be accounted right- 



88 



SERMON VII. 



coiisness to you f Did they reap life everlasting only by 
sowing to the spirit — and shall you reap the same harvest 
by sowing to the flesh ? Was actual perseverance in the love 
of God, while looking only to the mercy of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, indispensable for them — and will a speculative con- 
test for this practice, be enough for you ? If, in the prosecu- 
tion of their Master's work, no examples diverted them, nor 
custom deterred them — shall the inconveniences to which 
fidelity exposes you, cause you to shrink from tha duties of 
your station ? 

But here is a man, who would be a christian, while afraid 
of overstepping the customs of the world. A candidate for 
heaven, and anxious what men will say of him ; and how 
much his religion will cost him ; and hoping to inherit the 
promises, while unwilling to expose himself to ridicule or in- 
convenience ! And was it thus, that Paul and his associates, 
acquired confidence in prospect of the judgment seat of 
Christ ? Was it thus, that constellation of worthies, who, 
while reflecting the glory of God from the record of their 
history, brighten also the heavens with their lustre — was it 
thus, they obtained their fixture in that world of light ? Did 
they not rather, at the command of God, leave country and 
kindred, dwell in tabernacles, and sojourn in a strange 
land, and offer up their children and their own lives ? 
And did they not defy the wrath of kings, and esteem the 
reproach of Christ more highly than all the honors man 
could give ; and harbour the friends of God at the hazard 
of life ; and take patiently the lash, and joyfully the spoils 
ing of their goods ; and submit to imprisonment ; and brave 
the billows of the deep, and the jaws of beasts, and the fangs 
of reptiles, and the tortures of racks, not accepting deliver- 
ance? Did their faith fail them, for threats, and cruel 
mockings, and cold, and hunger, and nakedness, and burn- 
ing, and stoning, and sawing asunder, and every form of 



SERMON VII. 



8y 



bitter death ? Did they resist, unto blood, the false maxims, 
and unrighteousness, and ungodliness of men ; to obtain a 
good report, and to fulfil the duties of godliness and char- 
ity — and do any of us, expect to steal into heaven, with a 
spirit which has nothing of the power to follow them ? 

But you have enemies, and difficulties, and temptations, 
besetting you on your weak side — so had they. You have 
dangers and trials peculiar to yourselves — so had they. But 
they overcame, and triumphed gloriously, by looking unto 
Jesus: and so must you. If like them you would live and 
reign with Christ, like them, you must be willing to suffer 
with him. You have the same means, and motives, and en- 
couragements, which they had. The same atonement, on 
which to rest your justification, the same teacher to guide 
you, and the same comforter to uphold you with his 
promises, and purify you with the hopes he inspires : the 
same tremendous denunciations, to make you stand in awe 
and not sin : the same exhibitions of divine goodness, to al- 
lure and animate you : the same fearful kind of providences 
to admonish, and chasten, and correct you : the same deli- 
cious foretastes to constrain you ; and the same ground for 
fortitude, and constancy, and expectation of help in time of 
need. What lack you then, that they enjoyed ? You have 
the same freedom of thought and action, and are furnished 
with equally powerful reasons, and plain directions, for a 
life of devotedness to the cause and kingdom of Jesus Christ. 
The covenant of grace is unaltered : the terms of life un- 
changed : nor is the path to glory narrower, than when they 
marched through it without fainting. 

What is our apology for being less busy than they ? The 
moral atmosphere in which they lived, was even more chil- 
ling than ours. They met opposition from without more 
incessant, and violent ; and they tell us of fightings within^ 
which brought forth exclamations such as indicated a bleed- 
1.2 



90 



SERMON VII. 



ing heart. Are you reproached with enthusiasm for your 
zeal ? They were charged with madness from the fumes of 
new wine. Must you be charged with bigotry or fanati- 
cism, if you yield not the faith once delivered to the saints ? 
They were said to be mad, and setters forth of strange gods. 
Is it, in the opinion of some, ignorance and illiberality in 
you, to adhere strictly to the precepts of Christ? In them, 
such adherence was worse ; and to serve God with all the 
heart, and all the strength, is no more preciseness, and be- 
ing righteous over-much, in you, than it was obstinacy in 
them, and disrespect to Caesar. Yet their fidelity was main- 
tained, in the face of civil authority, and at the expense of 
martyrdom. Yours may be equally well maintained, and 
not a single statute, nor a dog of state, lift up his tongue 
against you. The charter of their privileges has not come 
down to us abridged ; and yet, the number of our facilities 
for improvement under it, are enlarged ; and we have, ad- 
ded to their excitements, the light and force of their exam- 
ple. However great the glory offered them- — however en- 
nobling the pursuits enjoined upon them — however many 
and strong the hopes and fears which agitated them — how- 
ever feelingly enforced their obligations to Christ — the glory 
to which we are invited is the same ; save that of triumph- 
ing at the stake, in the cauldron, or on the cross : the pur- 
suits enjoined on us are equally honorable ; save, perhaps, 
the liberty of suffering their perils among the heathen, -by 
robbers, among false brethren, in a wilderness or on the 
sea, to spread abroad the name and religion of the Saviour : 
the hopes and fears, too, which agitate us, may be made 
equally fruitful and valuable in their influence; and the ex- 
tent of our obligations, in all respects, is as clearly and va- 
riously taught. 

Who then, will fail to follow men of such courage, when 
he beholds them passed safely through ? Who can give way 



SERMON VII. 



•91 



to despondency or sloth, when such a spirit is, of itself, 
enough to prevent his entrance into their inheritance ? They 
reaped not by faintness in seed time, nor obtained rest by 
avoiding exertion. They became models of Christian dili- 
gence — and now, where are they ? Alive in the presence of 
God forevermore : from the state, the possibility, the appre- 
hension of death, they are already freed : they are no more 
connected with a body subject to disaster and decay. They 
rest in a city, none of whose inhabitants say, I am sick : in 
a city, where sin pollutes, and can disturb their peace no 
more : where malice and envy can no more blast the good 
man's name. No enemy from without disturbs, none within 
interrupts their tranquillity. The veil is withdrawn which 
hid from them the loving God, and pure in heart, they see 
his face and live. Be followers of them in Christian dili- 
gence, and soon the pangs of doubt, and of distrust, shall 
cease to exclude you from their perfect joys. Enduring 
patiently, and bearing cheerfully, and forgiving freely, and 
laboring zealously, a little longer, you will be summoned to 
the same banquet of unmingled peace. Once, like you, those 
happy spirits dwelt in dust — >in a world of vanity and vicis- 
situde ; among brethren of different views ; with a church 
of mingled wheat and tares. Their eye was single : their 
work was performed with Christian assiduity ; and where 
are they ? At rest in heaven ; feasting on joys unspeakable 
and full of glory. They mourn no more over the discord- 
ances and failures of the visible family of God. They have 
labored to reconcile men to each other, and to God; and 
above all to keep themselves pure, partaking not in other 
men's sins, and their works have followed them. They 
move in perfect concert, and each, with all his modified, ex- 
alted powers, employs those powers in praise, and in enjoy- 
ment. Would you be there ? Let your work, like theirs, be 
done ; and as you approach the evening horizon, let your 



92 



SERMON VII. 



orb, though possibly less dazzling, be fullest and fairest to 
every beholder's eye. Read their histories, behold the effects 
of their efforts, and recollect that you are indebted, under 
God, for the knowledge you possess of the way of life, to 
their exertions. Through your fidelity to Christ, to your 
children, to the church, and to mankind, let any who are to 
succeed you, owe the same blessed privilege to you. From 
every obstacle you meet in following their steps, look up- 
ward on them, and through them, to Christ, and surmount 
them all. 

Are you a Christian ? Remember heaven is your home ; 
and keep your affections set on things above. There are 
your best friends — the Angels who minister to you ; your 
pious relatives, who, living and dying, blessed you ; your 
Saviour who intercedes for you ; your Father and your God : 
and there be your conversation, and there your hopes and 
treasures. Then, as often as duty calls you down from the 
mount, you will return cheered and brightened, like the face 
of Moses when he had talked with God ; or like Stephen's, 
which, while looking stedfastly to the heavens, was seen, as 
it had been the face of an Angel. 

Aged Brethren ! may I be allowed to hope, that the duty 
of Christian diligence, has not been exhibited, and enforced 
in your hearing, in vain ! For you, the living will labor but 
a little longer. A new world will soon surround you. You 
will not be suffered to abide at this altar, by reason of death. 
Here, beyond that period, no prayers can be offered for you, 
no service performed by you ; and, as of another year,* so 
of your connection with this world, it will be said — it is gone 
lay forever. Will you not all, be followers of them who in- 
herit the promises ; that when the grave which waits for you 
shall be opened, and the dust return to dust again, you may 

* This discourse was delivered on the last Sabbath of the year 1820. 



Y 



SERMON VII. 



93 



be added to the models we have been contemplating, and 
numbered, in our hope, among the spirits of the just ? If you 
know not the alternative, I would not spread a mantle over 
its horrors. 

Why then, by a needless silence, should I deceive those, 
who do not rank themselves among the Fathers I Truth calls 
them aged, who are no nearer heaven for having passed the 
meridian of life ; and who are diligent, only in the concerns 
of the present state, and live without hope, and without God 
in the world. They make haste to the land of silence, nay 
they are already dead, who suffer the cares of this life to 
choke the word, and render all the admonitions of their God 
unfruitful. Their murdered hours will soon be avenged, 
when, stretched on the bed of death, they find no place for 
Christian diligence. There you may see the worldling, who 
has not one to give, offering ten thousand worlds, for a res- 
pite long enough to exemplify such diligence, and to secure 
its rewards. But had you all these worlds, my brother, they 
would not redeem one hour from death, nor yield to God a 
ransom for those you now misspend. Will you not now 
avail yourself of this admonition and become a follower of 
them, who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises ? 
Nor let a consciousness of past neglect discourage, but stim- 
ulate the mind, as the work has diminished nothing in its 
vastness or importance ; and the time of service is of shorter 
duration. 

Nor, in the application of this subject, should the young 
be neglected : for in the morning of life, no less than in 
palsied age, we are obliged, by him who gives law to all, to 
make a proper use of time. Yet all the pages of life, which 
record no proofs, or fruits, of christian diligence, are either 
blank or blot. Art thou secure, young man ! while not a 
follower of them, by whose lives this duty has been enforced ? 
Hast thou another, and a better standard ? They who have 



94 



SERMON VII. 



long passed your period of life, in inaction and spiritual 
sloth, can tell you, what embittered recollections this fact 
has brought on them. They can tell you, that there is but 
one spring, and that this, if squandered, is usually followed 
with self-reproach, instead of the joys of the diligent in har- 
vest. Could I fuid a consideration, more worthy than has 
been already set before you, to enforce on you this duty, I 
should owe it to your age; because, commenced at this 
period, and prosecuted to old age, christian diligence prom- 
ises both the greater honor to God, the greater good to man- 
kind, and to yourself, the greatest reward. For, consider 
that diligence will accomplish no less in Christ's kingdom, 
than in any other : and yet, in every other, what has it not 
done ? How many deserts has it turned into fruitful fields ; 
and wildernesses, into flourishing cities, and seats of civiliza- 
tion and science ! It has brought to light those physical 
truths, which nature hid among her secrets, to teach the 
world how worthless genius is, without industry. It has 
raised the understanding to the apprehension of those sub- 
lime moral truths, and relations of truth, which indolence 
would have left to rank forever among the impenetrable and 
unintelligible mysteries of fate. Its powers have the ac- 
knowledgement of high distinction, in the reduction of all 
sciences, to form, order and system : in the developement of 
schemes of the highest temporal utility, and sources of pros- 
perity, to the nations which are to be born. It has enlight- 
ened the path of worlds, at an immense distance from our 
own ; and formed the ascending steps, of the benighted 
mind, to all the natural perfections of the Deity. It has 
united distant continents better than armies, it has subdued 
kingdoms, and civilized many portions of the world. What, 
then, may it not do, under the guidance of christian motives, 
and governed by the christian's temper ? What an influence 
may it not exert on the moral world, in its reduction to or- 



SERMON VII. 



95 



der, to virtue, and to God ? Co-operating with him, what 
excellence, what command, what glory is not within the 
comprehension of its hand ? It has already, thus employed, 
beat down the bulwarks of idolatry and superstition, and of 
every practised sin, in many countries. It is destined ulti- 
mately, to fill the earth with the knowledge of God, and add 
to intellectual, and ever}' other imaginable greatness, the 
wisdom and felicity of the heavens. 

While the children of this world labor so industriously, 
to obtain only what shall perish, will it not be your glory, 
to pursue with equal ardor and constancy, the crown which 
fadeth not away ? Influenced by a consideration, which 
unites the dearest interests of two worlds, shall it not be 
yours, to take hold on the promise of the life which now is, 
and of that wbich is to come ; and thus to verify the sayings 
of that book, whence we derive all our lessons of wisdom ; 
and see, if, in obeying and serving God, man may not spend 
his days in prosperity, and his years in pleasure ; and if he 
do not find a consummation of all human greatness and 
glory, the moment he steps across the dividing line. Here, 
the munificence of God, having secured to christian dili- 
gence, by constitution and promise, all to which wisdom and 
grace could prompt an Almighty Father's heart, must have 
an end. And if all this shall fail to move you, you are lost. 
O ! who can comprehend the full meaning of that expres- 
sion — lost ? Who by searching can find it out unto perfec- 
tion ? It is deep as hell— its measure is eternity. Here 
stopped the wisdom of Solomon : the wisdom of a greater 
than Solomon, affected not to go beyond ; and who must 
not despair, when bafiied at the point, where Christ's argu- 
ments and compassions together end ! 



# 



SERMON VIII. 



MODESTY OF APPAREL. 



1 Timothy, ii. 8, 9. 



I will — that tvomen adorn themselves in modest apparel, with 
shame-facedness and sobriety. 

These are the words of an Apostle of Jesus Christ, di- 
rected to an evangelist residing at Ephesus — at that time a 
principal city of Asia. Although this exhortation might 
have been penned for the benefit, ultimately, of future ages ; 
it had, doubtless, a particular reference, and was designed to 
be applied, to the existing state of that polite city. A de- 
gree of effeminacy, has ever characterized the people of that 
nation. The power of custom, endangered the purity of the 
professors of godliness : and in the early age of the church, 
it was of peculiar importance that its members should be 
distinguished from its enemies, as well by propriety of exter- 



* Perhaps it is due to the sex to say, that the part of this discourse which 
relates to immodest apparel, is not so applicable to the present mode, as 
to that which prevailed when it was written. But when we consider the 
tyranny of fashion, and the peculiar reluctance qf the female world to hear 
©n this subject, it becomes doubly important, that such admonition should 
be read. The closet may convey the censure, and spare the blush. 



SERMON VIII. 



nal appearances as by the superiority of their principles. 
So particular and so extensive are the rules of Christianity, 
that they extend, as we are here taught, and as we are often 
reminded, to the manners, the deportment, and even the 
dress of its professors. And from the sex spoken of in the 
text, we may conclude that the same exhortations are appli- 
cable to them, in this, as well as in past ages. Indeed, it is 
supposed, that the fashionable moderns have as much ex- 
celled their ancestors, in frivolity and indelicacy, as in their 
advantages for surpassing them in sobriety and modesty. v 

With respect to the particular subject under consideration, 
ice have, indeed, never witnessed a period, so distinguished 
for vanity and immodesty as the present. That sex, to whom 
we have been accustomed to look for every thing that is re- 
fined in sentiment and manners, by the introduction of prac- 
tices which the Apostle, and even nature, forbids, have car- 
ried us back to the age in which he lived. The softening 
and purifying tendency of Christianity, seems now no longer 
observable ; and we are called upon, as were Christ and 
his Apostles, to make such animadversions on fashionable 
vices, as seem scarcely becoming the sanctity of the house 
of God. I have chosen this season, (evening) for such a 
purpose, out of tenderness to the conscious delicacy of those, 
who blush for them who discover their want of modesty, 
even in this sacred place. 

Attend then with seriousness to the solemn demand of the 
Apostle : " I will — that women adorn themselves in modest 
apparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety." 

I. I shall consider, in the first place, the nature and ex- 
tent of this injunction, as it relates to apparel : and this we 
shall find to embrace the ideas, both of modesty and orna- 
ment. 

1. With respect to the first, it may be difficult to settle 
with precision the meaning of the phrase. Modest apparel 
13 



1>3 



SERMON VIIL 



is a vague phrase, when unconnected with the rules of 
Christianity — ever varying, in its import, with public opin- 
ion, which is gradually formed by the customs of the world. 
What in one age, has been deemed indelicate and immodest; 
has, in another, been considered decorous and becoming* 
And that dress, which, at one time, in the same nation, has 
been thought studied singularity, and an affectation of mod- 
esty ; has, at another, been accounted barely decent. Still, 
as has been well observed, " in this instance, as in all others' 
where the passions are concerned, the strictest casuist, will 
generally be found ithe safest." The public regulations 
with respect to dress, in the early stages of society in this 
country, and their effects, clearly evince the absolute impos- 
sibility of making sufficient legal provisions for maintaining 
propriety. The regulations referred to, were marked with 
a severity bordering on the ludicrous — with restrictions un- 
doubtedly too great: but the almost unrestrained indul- 
gence, which has since prevailed, has clearly passed the true 
mean. 

The modesty of apparel, therefore, which the Apostle en- 
joins, must be determined by the nature of christian moral- 
ity. Whatever is inconsistent with purity of heart — what- 
ever tends, on the first experiment, to excite a blush in her 
who puts on the habit, or in those who first behold her in 
such a*gfarb, must be considered as an infraction of the law 
of chastity. If we admit the justness of Christ's morality, 
we cannot surely doubt, whether the latitude on this sub- 
ject, at present given — not by public opinion, but by the 
mistresses of the fashionable world — be consistent with the 
laws of Christianity. Judging from the reigning mode, one 
would suppose that instead of a fallen, guilty state, women 
imagined that they, and the rest of the world, were in that 
©f paradisiacal innocence. But surely if their own feelings 



SERMON VIIL 



99 



are insufficient for this purpose, a consideration of the con- 
dition of our race should remind them of their error. 

She who has any thing of the spirit of religion, needs not 
political statutes to confine her ; but will be always vigilant, 
to recede from the borders of immodesty, rather than in dan- 
ger of overstepping them. Let those who have not the 
spirit of this religion, look, for the rules which should regu- 
late their conduct, to the examples of those who have ; for 
the latter, it is to be presumed, are not involved in the gen- 
eral disgrace. In such examples, it is hoped they will find 
specimens of that modesty of apparel, of which the Apostle 
speaks, as opposed to indecency : although it must be ac- 
knowledged, painful as it is, that as it respects modesty 
when opposed to ornament, they will find it safer to apply 
to the evangelical Prophet than to them. 

To frame rules, for the direction of women on such an 
article, was not the province of the Apostle, but of mothers 
in Zion. Paul therefore^ has contented himself with a de- 
mand of modesty, in this particular, and left it to the piety 
and common sense of mothers, to do the rest. We will, 
therefore, only consider the consequences of a general ne- 
glect of the injunction in the text. 

One Gf the most deplorable of these is, that the barriers 
of virtue are broken down. Society becomes dissolute — 
virtue loses its charms — and the fairest portion of creation, 
degenerate into mere animal existences. Immodesty of ap- 
parel, leads directly to indelicacy of sentiment ; and a cor- 
ruption of sentiment, to incontinence of life. These, believe 
me, are not the figments of a disordered brain, but they are 
awful truths ; and though they are plain truths, you cannot 
but acknowledge that a faithful admonition, at the expense 
of your pride, is better than the most ingenious adulation or 
deception, at the expense of your virtue. If such admoni- 
tion be given with candour, and accompanied with tender- 



SERMON VIII. 



ness, it is the best proof of friendship. Indulge not the idea, 
then, too commonly embraced, that the Apostle Paul was an 
enemy to your sex. The superficial reader has ever consid- 
ered him such :_ but understand him thoroughly, and you 
will be convinced he is their sincere friend ; and that he has 
ever consulted, in his directions to them, the interest, the dig- 
nity, and the happiness of the sex. 

She who, by immodest apparel, exposes herself to the 
view of the world, cannot be said to reverence herself; and 
she who does not reverence herself, must not claim even 
civility, and much less can she expect to receive respect, 
from others. Those who do thus expose themselves, great- 
ly mistake the means which should be employed to attain 
their object. An outside, can never captivate the sensible 
and discerning part of the world ; and a custom which bor- 
ders on indelicacy, will never fail to excite disgust, in those 
who have any principle of virtue within. Such a display, 
therefore, defeats their own designs. 

But consider next, another consequence of this fashionable 
vice, which affects you in another point of view. Consider, 
that, in our own age, thousands have anticipated death, and 
gone down to the grave, their own executioners, and the 
monuments of their indiscretion and their sin. How often, 
within the sphere of our own observation, has disease and 
death been suffered to enter the frail and tender bodies of 
your sex, through too thin a habit; and the consequences 
are awful, because they are eternal. 

Finally — consider, that although the indelicacy of those 
who are known to be wanton, produces quite an opposite ef- 
fect to that of the more refined, yet that under certain cir- 
cumstances, and in certain cases, even the mind of the chris- 
tian cannot fail of receiving, for a moment, such impressions 
as are accounted sinful, and as are chargeable on you. And 
are you so spotless, as to take it upon you to account for the 



SERMON VIII. 



101 



sin of others ? Besides, while disobeying the injunction in 
the text, you are employing, not indeed the words of the wife 
of Potiphar to Joseph, but a language of the same import. 
By such indelicacy, you seize the young and the unwary by 
the mantle, and lead them to devices and to intrigues, which 
take hold on hell. You expose yourselves and others to 
snares, of which, if innocent, you little dream ; and which, 
if guilty, will cost you the loss of character here, and the 
eternal loss of happiness hereafter. 

II. We are to consider, secondly, that modesty of ap- 
parel which is opposed to ornament. 

As a class of society, there is none who have bestowed so 
much attention on the decoration of the body, as the fe- 
male sex. The Prophet, in the illustration of a certain 
truth, has recognized the justice of the sentiment, that in all 
civilized nations, women have been fond, to excess, of exter- 
nal embellishments — "Can a maid," says he, "forget her 
ornaments, or a bride her attire ?" Whether this fondness 
for ornament is to be accounted for by the natural constitu- 
tion of their minds, or is the result of the partiality of the 
other sex to such as arrayed themselves in the most splendid 
attire, is not made a question by the inspired writers, neither 
is it of importance for us to decide. Certain it is, that in 
every civilized, and in some barbarous nations, it has been 
found to be a fact. But, with respect to this subject, we 
may rejoice in the truth, that a simplicity has prevailed in 
our age, unknown to the inhabitants of that period in which 
the Prophet wrote. Still, it is to be confessed, there remains 
room for improvement. Though the ornaments of the pres- 
ent age are neither so profuse, nor ridiculous, as those of a 
former, they are still chargeable with immodesty, or vanity, 
in their apparel, who suffer themselves to be directed in their 
choice of them, by the fancies of those who give law to the 
female world. The manner and minuteness, with which the 



102 



SERMON VIII. 



inspired penman has treated this subject, while it evinces its 
great importance, leaves no ground of excuse for those, who 
waste their valuable years, and estates, upon the decorations 
of the body. Some degree of thought, as well as care, in 
this particular, is not only allowable, but necessary. Still it 
is, and will ever remain, beneath the dignity of the female 
character — beneath the employment of an immortal mind — 
to be solicitous, wherewith the body shall be clothed. An 
anxiety on this subject, if discovered, lessens instantly, in the 
estimation of the world, the value of the woman. To her, 
therefore, whose object it is (and it certainly should be the 
object of all) to honor God, by becoming useful to man- 
kind ; and, by the purity of her example, to exert an exten- 
sive influence around her, dress will ever be a subordinate 
subject. The care of it, and the thoughts relating to it, will 
ever be incidental rather than studied. The care of the 
woman who reverences herself, will be to command esteem, 
rather by the richness of the furniture within, than the gay 
and gaudy profusion of that without. 

But the attention and admiration of men, constitutes, with 
a virtuous woman, but a secondary consideration. She 
feels that she is immortal, and acts for eternity. She listens 
to the warning voice of God, not to the lying applauses of 
men. She knows that spiritual improvement, as well as 
domestic usefulness and peace, are hardly compatible with 
great attainments in the art of dress. She has the magna- 
nimity to declare her feelings by her conduct ; and to show 
others that she feels, that to improve, refine, and bless, 
not to dazzle and deceive, is the end of female existence. 
She gives the lie to the practical declaration of the silly, the 
vain, and the fluttering of her sex, that woman has only an 
animal nature ; and evinces that she is endowed with exalt- 
ed powers. 

The frequent examination of the person, adds new preven- 



SERMON VIII. 



103 



tives to the examination of the heart : and the mind is gen- 
erally found empty, where the person is profusely ornament- 
ed. But they greatly mistake the character of those of our 
sex who are worthy their regard, who imagine their gar- 
rison, though weak, to be in little danger, where the out- 
works are complete. No external trappings, whether natural 
or acquired, can ever atone for an uncultivated mind, or a 
base heart. And that mind will assuredly be ignorant, and 
that heart unacquainted with true virtue, which studies more 
to adorn the person with elegance, than to embellish and 
improve the soul with the ornaments of religious knowledge 
and the christian graces. Toilet devotion, and religious af- 
fections, cannot exist together. Both the kind, and degree 
of employment, necessary to the acquisition of the friend- 
ship and admiration of the world, are insuperable barriers 
to the obtaining of the approbation and favor of God. The 
embellishments of the person, without religion, may ensure 
the one ; only those of the soul formed by virtue, can se- 
cure those of the other. She who- had never a thought of 
God, or of eternity, may gain her object by the former ; but 
she who has not devoted much thought to both, can never 
obtain the latter. The very taste for gaiety and show, im- 
plies either ignorance of, or indifference to, the precepts of 
the Gospel ; and the ambition and attempt to please, by 
such unhallowed and insignificant means, discovers an emp- 
tiness of soul, in her who seeks to captivate, and in those 
who are thus easily caught, pardonable only in children. 

The subject admits of the keenest irony, and of every 
other species of wit ; but it is of too great importance to be 
treated even ludicrously. A subject, which, in the present 
view of it, is intimately connected with eternity, is not to be 
sported with, and thus placed on a level with those which 
the Deity is supposed not to regard. A course of conduct 
which is tending, in its consequences, to the destruction of a 



104 



SERMON VIH. 



rational, intelligent, and immortal soul, requires the caution 
produced by a view of the sanctions of God's law, rather 
than the lash of ridicule. Those whose practices are incon* 
sistent with the laws of Christianity, require the interposition 
of the grace of God, to change their dispositions ; and the 
means used to effect this must be holy. Satire may irritate 
the passions, but does not, ordinarily, operate as a means of 
changing the temper. If it is imagined, that this is giving 
an undue importance to the subject, turn to the expressions 
of God himself, and you will discover in what light he views 
the character, the disposition, and the conduct of those, of 
whom we have been treating. " Moreover, the Lord saith, 
because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with 
stretched forth necks, and wanton eyes, walking and mincing 
as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet ; there- 
fore, the Lord will smite the crown of the head of the daugh- 
ters of Zion, and expose them. The Lord will take away 
the bravery of their tinkling ornaments, their cauls, and 
their round tires, like the moon ; the chains, and the brace- 
lets, and the mufflers ; the bonnets, and the ornaments of the 
legs, and the head-bands, and the tablets, and the ear rings ; 
the rings and nose jewels, the changeable suits of apparel, 
and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the 
fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils : and it shall come 
to pass, that instead of a girdle, there shall be a rent ; and 
instead of well set hair, baldness ; and instead of a stomacher, 
a girding of sackcloth ; and burning, instead of beauty : 
and the gates of Zion shall lament and mourn ; and she, 
being desolate, shall sit upon the ground." Such are the 
judgments, consequent upon what are commonly esteemed 
venial indiscretions. 

How the social virtues can be maintained hi exercise, in 
consistency with such attention to dress, as the laws of cus- 
tom impose, they perhaps can best determine who waste their 



# 



SERMON VIII. 



time in devising the form, and executing their devices, of 
their apparel and its appendages — who exhaust their trea- 
sures, in providing ornaments and chains of gold — who 
turn the stream of beneficence upon themselves — who leave 
frugality to the vulgar, and are profuse, only in those chari- 
ties, which begin and end at home. Pride, vanity, and self- 
conceit, are almost invariably found attached to those frivolous 
characters, who are emulous to excel in the richness or 
gaiety of their apparel : and should they not be found so 
conspicuous in these, they lay a foundation for envy, malig- 
nity, and censoriousness, in every rival. Even the appear- 
ance of humility, in such, excites suspicions of its reality* 
The attention which they usually command from the 
weak and the frivolous, is apt to betray them into an ima- 
gination of some real excellence, which they never possessed ; 
and this fancied excellence, whatever it may be, atones, in 
their view, for every defect, and forever prevents an atten- 
tion to those important acquisitions, without which, favor is 
deceitful, and beauty vain. Such persons forget, that their 
beauty shall soon be consumed, and their beautiful garments 
employed to cover a mass of corruption. Whence then is 
all their pride and boasting? To corruption, each of you 
must soon say — Thou art my father ; and to the worm, 
thou art my mother and my sister — Value not, then, the 
robes of ostentation, and the trappings of vanity. Remem- 
ber that the moth, which shall feed on that delicate flesh, will 
soon arise, and flutter in a richness, a sumptuousness of dress, 
with which you, in all your glory, were never arrayed. 

Mothers ! you have vowed to bring up } r our flock, in the 
nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is your province, to 
regulate the manners and the dresses of your children : and 
let not an over-weening, an ill-placed affection, suffer you 
to look with an eye of complacency, on the indelicacy, or the 
extravagance of your children. Daughters ! you blushed. 
14 



.106 



SERMON VHI. 



in conscious guilt, when you first assumed the half-formed 
garments of Eden. Restore the garb of delicacy and mod- 
esty to your forms, and let the coloring of virtue return. 
Banish that extravagance in your apparel, that profusion of 
ornament, and that gaudy attire, which better become the 
butterfly than the woman ; and which are ever the marks of a 
weak, a vain, or an empty mind. Adorn yourselves in 
modest apparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety ; not with 
broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array, but with 
the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which, in the sight 
both of God and man, is of great price. 

II. It remains, in the second place, that we attend to the 
virtue of modesty itself, as existing in the heart, and ex- 
pressed in the language of the Apostle, by " shame-faced- 
ness." " I will, that women adorn themselves in modest 
apparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety." We should 
lose much of the force of this exhortation, were we to con- 
sider it as extending only to the laws of decorum. Ft reaches 
to the heart. True modesty is a gem of inestimable value ; 
and in a woman, indispensable. In the language of a heath- 
en writer, we have in few words, what, if written after, 
might justly be considered as a paraphrase of this part of 
our text — " 'Tis not gold, emeralds, nor purple, but modesty, 
gravity, and decent deportment, that can truly adorn a 
woman." Modesty is an ornament which nothing can pur- 
chase ; producing a delicate reserve, equally distant from 
prudery and wanton boldness — inducing a demeanor singu- 
larly discouraging to the insolent attempts of the vain, the 
wanton, and the familiar guest. It is the almost necessary 
result of innocence and worth.. It is at once, the test and 
the guardian of virtue. The various decencies, whether of 
dress or of manners, which flow from a heart possessed of it, 
are rather its own genuine effect, than the results of educa- 
tion. By strict observance of the rules of art, its counter- 



SERMON VIII. 



10? 



feit may be obtained ; but the reality, is, in every instance, 
the gift of God. Impurity of heart, is utterly inconsistent 
with the possession of this virtue ; although such impurity 
is often disguised with its semblance. 

There is not, in the rational world, an object more dis- 
gustful, than a wanton, or an impudent woman : nor, on the 
other hand, one more pleasing, than she who is truly 
modest from a principle of piety. And so prevalent is this 
sentiment, and so sensible of its truth are the abandoned of 
the sex, that the world is filled with counterfeits. But how 
immense is the difference, between the downcast eye of 
conscious impurity, and the retiring modesty of virtue ! 
From the one, we turn with emotions of indignant pity : 
from the other, we recede with a painful fear of wounding a 
child of God. There is a " shame-facedness" — an awkward 
bashfulness — which can never speak, or speak without 
trembling. This, though it may consist with, should never 
be taken for, modesty itself ; for it most commonly attends 
those, who, in their retired hours, use the most unlicensed 
freedom. True modesty is not inconsistent with affability. 
On the contrary, it is compatible with the utmost freedom, 
when that freedom is governed by discretion. This teaches 
both time and judgment. A misplaced confidence, will often 
expose, even a modest woman, to suspicions of indelicacy. 
Hence appears the necessity of an acquaintance with the 
world, and a knowledge of the human heart. And hence, 
also, the necessity of gaining this knowledge, not through 
the superficial writings of human authors merely, but by 
the study of that perfect source of information, the word of 
God. Human writings rarely instruct, on this subject, 
without corrupting the mind. The lessons of wisdom con- 
tained in the inspired writings, are always accompanied with 
such sanctions, as tend to suppress the remotest suggestions 
of the depraved heart. The very idea of conversing with 



108 



SERMON VIII. 



God j if we have any just conceptions of the holiness of his 
character, and the purity of his law, awakens the soul to 
vigilance; and guards it against the indulgence of those 
thoughts, which the very nature of the subject is calculated 
to excite. 

It may be necessary, to exhibit the means, by which this 
principle of virtue may be lost ; either by one false step, or 
a gradual decay. The most powerful of these means, be- 
cause they excite the least suspicion of danger, are, either 
intercourse with vicious company, or improper books. 

There cannot be devised a more effectual method of cor- 
rupting the minds of the young, and the inexperienced, than 
that of suffering them to mingle promiscuously with persons 
of either sex. It is in this way, usually, that the first les- 
sons of indelicacy are learned ; and that those who have 
been educated in the refined sentiments of christian purity, 
become tainted with the poison of worldly morality. 'Tis 
from the sentiments and the examples of those with whom 
they are permitted to associate, that they are first embold- 
ened to "overstep the modesty of nature." In these mixed 
companies — from which parents must be excluded, or con- 
versation, and freedom, and care, be banished — they are 
taught, by the example of their superiors in age, to cast off 
that reserve, which keeps the bold at a distance, and silences 
the tongue of vulgarity. It is here, where no suspicion 
enters, that the double meaning jest, and the loose song 
of ribaldry, wear away, by repetition, the blush which 
they first enkindled; and with the blush, the purity 
that occasioned it. It is here, that the frown of indig- 
nation, and the modesty that excited it, at an indecent 
tale, are gradually lost ; and the rays of complacency, re- 
flected upon the brow, from the undisturbed countenances of 
those Heroines, who secretly scoff at the delicacy they never 
possessed. Even the reserve and diffidence which they pos- 



SERMON VIII. 



109 



sesSj when first introduced into such societies, keeps back 
the expression of the indignant emotions which they feel ; 
and the delicacy which is wounded, is made the instrument 
of its own destruction. A thirst for society, so natural to 
the young, prevents their use of those means by which their 
modesty is to be preserved. A fear of future restraint, as 
well as that of offending, inclines them to conceal from their 
parents and friends, the shocks they have sustained ; and 
they continue to frequent public places, and promiscuous 
companies, till little of that sensibility remains which should 
ever distinguish the female character. Ignorant of the char- 
acters with whom they associate, they go out, Jike Dinah, 
the child of Leah and Jacob, " to see the daughters of the 
land and too often, like her, meet Shechemites in their 
society, by whom they are defiled. Happy would it prove 
for them, and for society, would the daughters of the land, 
like Ruth, cleave unto their mothers ; and say, like her, 
"entreat me not to leave thee : for whither thou goest, I 
will go ; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge ; thy people 
shall be my people, and thy God my God." 

Public exhibitions, and places of mixed societies, have 
never been found, within the compass of our experience, to 
contribute, either to the increase or preservation of that 
" shame-facedness" which the Apostle recommends. On the 
contrary, they have almost invariably, been found to con- 
taminate the heart. A look, a gesture, or a sentiment bor- 
dering on looseness, (and in such places these are innumera- 
ble) have done more to corrupt the imagination, than a thou- 
sand gross and direct applications to the passions. The 
places in which virtue, in any of its forms, can be thus art- 
fully exposed ; and those rooms in which modesty is thus 
liable to be wounded, or rather, insensibly destroyed, should 
be considered and shunned, by every virtuous woman, as 
anti-chambers of hell. We are indeed told, that virtue is 



110 



SERMON VIIL 



only to be known by being tried; and therefore, that onr 
daughters should be exposed, in all societies, to the lan- 
guage, the address, and the arts of those of their own and of 
our sex, not absolutely expelled, for the grossness of their 
immorality, from civil society. But it is a tale of falshood, 
and the sentiment contained in it, is full of corruption. We 
are also told, that those public exhibitions, in which all the 
arts and stratagems of either sex are represented, are favor- 
able to morality : and many have the weakness and impu- 
dence, to say publicly, that such exhibitions are guards to 
virtue. But the fatal experience of thousands can testify, 
that at these exhibitions, the bands of virtue were first loos- 
ened, and finally dissolved : — that there, the passions were 
first enkindled, which consumed them : — that there, they first 
conceived sentiments destructive to their peace, and became 
enamoured of practices, at the thought of which, while their 
modesty remained, their hearts revolted : — that there, their 
cupidity was engendered, or, at least, suffered to pollute the 
soul, and excited to such vehemence, as to prove the occa- 
sion of their irretrievable ruin. No woman, it is confident- 
ly believed, ever returned from such a scene, with a purer 
heart. The sentiment and the scene, which, on the first re- 
presentation, excites a blush on the modest countenance, and 
a chill of indignation throughout the frame, is, on the second 
perhaps, succeeded by a feebler struggle — soon endured 
without shame — and next, welcomed. But none, other than 
they who, by familiarity with such scenes, have experienced 
the progress of the downfall of this virtue, can describe the 
astonishing rapidity with which modesty recedes, and its op- 
posite advances. Circumstances may vary the rapidity of 
the change ; but on every mind, uninfluenced by extraordi- 
nary checks, a change will be produced. The scarcity of 
the genuine fruits of this virtue, is attributable, not on- 
ly to an association with unworthy companions, and to the 



SERMON VIII. 



frequenting of what are called, public exhibitions of life and 
manners ; but also, 

In the third place, to injudicious reading. There is a 
species of writing", in the general reading of which, no wo- 
man, who possesses this virtue in its genuine purity, can de- 
light. By whatever name it may be called — whether 
Tragedy, Comedy, Farce, or Romance — it is, with few ex- 
ceptions, though written professedly, in many cases, for the 
female sex, unfit for the eye of modesty. And, in proof of 
this, it is only necessary to state the fact, that no woman of 
worth, would venture, in presence of the other sex, nor even 
of one class of her own, to repeat, in the same language, all 
the incidents of a single volume. These books, not only im- 
part wrong views of real life, and engender false notions of 
happiness ; but so blend together virtue and vice, that it 
would be difficult, even for the nicest casuist, to separate 
them. In this view, therefore, they are highly injurious to 
the morals of their readers : but they are equally inimical 
to the heart of piety, when considered in their relation to 
this subject. How then, are the sex degraded, when, for 
tbeir use, our public libraries are crowded with romances — 
and how do they degrade themselves, who confine their 
studies principally to books of such a character ! Why do 
they fly to their closets, to inspect the impurities of the 
Monk, and similar works, but to conceal from the world 
their own impurity? Why, but from a dread that others 
should learn, that little remains of that " shame-facedness, n 
which the Apostle recommends, rather, which God demands? 

To deny that any good is to be gained, by the study of 
fictitious writers, would be a plain contradiction of truths 
but to deny that the evil produced by such reading, is incal- 
culably greater, would, if observation and experience may 
decide, be an equal violation of truth. Those therefore, 
who have a proper regard for that amiable virtue of which 



112 



SERMON VIIL 



we are treating-— those who know and feel the dignity of 
their natures, and the value of their immortal minds — those 
who would rather be ornaments to society, a*id blessings to 
their friends, than to excel in the extent of their acquaintance 
with love intrigues — will cultivate a taste for a higher species 
of knowledge, than that derived from such writings- — a more 
exalted employment, than that of studying them — a plea- 
sure more refined than they can bestow — and will be assid- 
uous to lay up a more nourishing food, for consolation and 
support in the retrospect of life. 

III. I proceed to the last subject of consideration, sug- 
gested by the text. This is sobriety — a virtue, or rather, a 
course of conduct proceeding from a principle of holiness, 
without which, modesty of apparel would be of little per- 
sonal benefit ; and shame-facedness, but a suspicious cover- 
ing. By an unaccountable madness, the world have gener- 
ally been prone to consider giddiness, and thoughtlessness, 
as inseparable from a female mind : and this levity, has, by 
some means, in their estimation, become transformed into a 
virtue. Their early studies, and their later avocations, (I 
speak of those of the higher classes of society) are, but too 
commonly, of a description which do them no honor. But 
if they deem it (as they certainly must) an insult upon 
the sex, to be esteemed triflers, why should they not dis- 
appoint the expectations of the world, and cultivate the vir- 
tue which Christianity recommends ? Why should they be 
averse to that sobriety, which only can dignify them in the 
eyes of their worthiest admirers ? Christian sobriety never 
stoops to trifle with serious things ; nor to be ever trifling 
about nothing. A woman without reflection, is but a mere 
puppet in society, and can only please as puppets do. 

The sex, however, disclaim the demerit of whatever they 
possess of vanity and frivolity, and of their want of the 
more solid and substantial accomplishments. And doubtless 



SERMON Vllt 



113 



they compiain with propriety, of injustice in the other sex, 
in the neglects which attend their education, and their ne- 
cessary deficiences in consequence of those neglects. But 
aside from the scientific accomplishments of the mind, they 
complain with no appearance of reason. Their deficiences 
in the virtues of the heart, be their literary education what 
it may, are chargeable solely, or principally, on themselves. 
And did they generally consider their consequence — did they 
realize that they are possessed of immortal minds — did they 
feel the vaLue, the immortal worth, of these — they never 
would submit to be debarred a species of learning, infinitely 
more valuable than that taught by human sages. From 
these treasures of wisdom and knowledge, no human arm 
can detain them. From drinking deep at the fountain of 
divine learning, no human power, without their concurrence, 
can prevent them. This, in spite of the laws imposed by 
custom — in spite of our illiberality — they may obtain. They 
cannot, generally, be their advantages what they may, be- 
come politicians, philosophers, and warriors : but they may 
become christians. From the word of God we may learn, 
that the great Creator designed woman to move in a differ- 
ent sphere from that of man ; and all the directions given to 
her in the sacred volume, while they recognize her impor- 
tance in society, seem to imply that her only empire is her 
household: to no other should she aspire. "Teach them," 
says the Apostle, "to be sober, discreet, chaste, and keepers at 
A©??ie." This sphere, in which heaven has placed them, is 
sufficiently large to employ all their time. To fill their 
places with dignity and usefulness, requires no small share 
of wisdom ; and to discharge with fidelity, the difficult 
duties of their apparently humble station, will engage all 
their virtue. On their virtue and fidelity here, depends, 
in a great measure, the happiness of the world. Think 
not then, for a moment, that God has degraded — Ho 
15 



114 



SERMON Vffi. 



has highly exalted, — the sex. 'Tis through the piety^ 
the care, the watchfulness, the indefatigable zeal of mo- 
thers, that the sons of men are trained up to virtue. 'Tis 
through them, as God's instruments, and under their foster- 
ing care, that virtuous habits are first formed, that the mor- 
als of society are exalted to the christian standard, and the 
world preserved from an universal corruption of manners : 
and hence appears the wisdom and force of that maxim of 
the king of Israel, so often repeated — "The price of a virtu- 
ous woman is far above rubies." And from the extensive- 
ness of the influence of woman in society, either good or evil 
according to her character, we may learn the justness of 
the following sayings of the same author. "For three 
things, the earth is disquieted ; and for four, it cannot bear. 
For a servant when he reigneth ; and a fool when he is fill- 
ed with meat. For an odious woman when she is married; 
and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress." Happy for 
the world, that the wisdom of God has given to those whose 
influence is so extensive, a situation peculiarly favorable to 
virtue. That the situation of women is suchTi^ evident from 
the undeniable truth, that the number and piety of christian 
professors throughout the world, is altogether in their fa- 
vor ; and on no other principle, can we satisfactorily account 
for the existence of this fact. How aggravated, then, must 
be the misery of those who, enjoying the best means for be- 
coming virtuous, and the most favorable situation for the in- 
culcation of virtuous sentiments, cast off the restraints which 
God has imposed, leave the sphere in which he has placed 
them, and, by a violation of his commandments, become 
either useless, or burdensome to the world ! 

How important, then, to guard against the first inroads 
upon virtue, and to cultivate the temper of the christian ! 
'Tis not for want of ability, but of inclination, that women 
are not more generally proficients in this science. 'Tis, also, 



SERMON VIIL 



115 



because their sobriety is often the result of views of policy 
merely, instead of being grounded on the eternal basis of 
love to God. Innumerable are the cases, in which the 
christian rules of sobriety will be violated, if the general 
temper be formed, or the conduct founded, on any other' 
than christian principles. 

Let women, then, consider their high destiny, and court 
the approbation of their consciences, rather than the ap- 
plauses or flatteries of the world. Let their labour be, to 
obtain the smiles of him who searcheth the heart, rather 
than the admiration of those witlings who are captivated 
with an outside. " Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain ; 
but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised." 
To be polished after the similitude of a palace, will avail 
but little, if the inner apartments be unfinished, or filled with 
vanity and uncleanness. The reflection of having been sur- 
rounded by the popin-jays of the age — loaded with adula- 
tion — and crowned with the perishing laurels of time ; will 
afford no satisfaction, to the soul thirsting for immortality, 
when it shall be summoned to leave its earthly tenement. 
But the remembrance of having honored God, and blessed 
the world, by a life of piety,, usefulness and sobriety, will 
give joy unutterable, to the departing soul, when Jesus shall 
beckon it to his arms. 



I 



SERMON IX. 



« 

THE DUTY OF CONFESSING CHRIST. 

Matthew x, 32, 33. 

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I con- 
fess also before my Father which is in Heaven, But whosoever 
shall deny me before men, him will 1 also deny before my 
Father which is in heaven. 

It is a sentiment of inspiration, too little known, or too 
little regarded, that the curse of the Lord is in the house of 
the wicked, and his blessing in the habitation of the just. 
By the wicked, are meant such as are not willing, freely to 
avouch the Lord to be their God ; to subject themselves to 
his government, and bind themselves to the obedience of his 
laws.— -For so is the will of God, concerning all who have 
forsaken their Father's house, and hastened after another 
God. They who are thus alienated from the life of God, are 
strangers to the covenant of promise — His covenant of life 
and peace is not with them : and they only are numbered 
among the friends of God, who have fled for refuge, to lay 
hold on this covenant as the only hope of fallen man. These 



SERMON IX. 



117 



only, are entitled to the blessings which God has promised 
to the righteous. Such is the language of the Old Testa- 
ment, and these sentiments are confirmed in the New. Our 
Saviour, of consequence, when he sent forth the Seventy in 
his name, bade them, into whatever house they entered, first 
say, Peace be unto this house ; and if a son of peace were 
there — a friend of God — to leave their blessing in God's 
name : but if not, said he, your peace shall return to you — 
that is, you shall leave every house, in which you find no 
friend of his, under the curse of God. The promised bless- 
ings of the covenant shall never be theirs, who spurn its of- 
fered benefits, and decline to subscribe heartily to its obliga- 
tions. But the voice of rejoicing, is in the tabernacles of 
the righteous. God has made with Them an everlasting cov- 
enant, to do them good ; and upon them, and their seed, his 
blessing rests forever. 

To the intelligent and attentive hearer, it is needless to 
say, all this is confirmed and sanctioned in the text. How 7 
clearly, then, is it the duty and the glory of us all, cordially 
to subscribe to the covenant of grace presented in Christ. 

Let me shew you, first, in few words, what it is to confess 
Christ — Secondly, whence it appears to be the duty of us 
all — And thirdly, enforce this duty, by the sanction annexed 
to the injunction. 

I. To confess Christ, in the sense of the text, is not mere- 
ly to admit the superior excellence of his character, and the 
transcendant importance of his religion. The most licentious 
among men have done this, both in the sobrieties of life, and 
the solemnities of death. 

To confess Christ, in the sense of the text, is not merely 
to be willing to espouse his cause in periods of peculiar re- 
ligious prosperity. Many, in such a state of the church, 
have done this, who, when persecution has arisen, have 
changed their ground, and abetted and comforted the enemy. 



US 



SERMON IX. 



To confess Christ, in the sense of the text, is not merely 
to call ourselves his disciples, and eat and drink in remem- 
brance of him, at the sacramental table. Many do this, 
whom he declares he will deny before his Father, and assem- 
bled worlds. 

To confess Christ, in the sense of the text, is publicly to 
avow our attachment to him and his religion, with a cordi- 
ality which will bear the test of the most discouraging times, 
and the scrutiny of the Judgment-day — With an affection, 
which will sooner die for him, thari deliberately and perse- 
veringly deny him. It is publicly to avow ourselves Christ's 
friends, with a temper, preferring rather to be hated of all 
men for his name's sake, than to secure the highest pos- 
sible advantage which men ever promise themselves, in either 
the speculative or practical. denial of him. Such a cordiality 
as this, will endure all trials : it will triumph over every 
enemy. The man who possesses it, will endure unto the 
end ; and he who does this, shall be saved, saith the Lord. 
The exposition, which essentially varies this view of the sub- 
ject, is inconsistent with the context, and the whole tenor of 
the gospel. To make such a profession of religion, is to 
confess Christ before men ; and though we are often told, 
in answer to these remarks, that profession merely is worse 
than in vain, it will be kept in mind, that the sentiment we 
are now secondly to illustrate, is no contradiction of this 
answer. It is not mere profession, which we allege to be 
the duty of all. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircum- 
sion is nothing, but the keeping the commandment of God. 

II. How, then, does it appear to be the duty of us ail 
thus to confess Christ ? If this duty can be shown to be 
binding on all, it will be on them who neglect it, to satisfy 
themselves, and to satisfy their Judge, that they are not the 
men — ashamed of him and his words — of whom the Son of 



SERMON IX. 



119 



man will be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his 
Father, with the holy angels. 

1. That this duty is of universal obligation, appears, 
then, in the first place, from the explicit and universal 
command of Christ. This is contained in the commis- 
sion he gave, at first, to his Apostles. When he bade 
them preach the gospel to all nations — to disciple and 
baptize all men in his name — he gave, through them, to 
mankind, a command to receive, embrace, and adhere to his 
religion, in the face of the world, from which it required 
them to separate. If to do this, be not possible for any 
other, than the man who makes such a profession of reli- 
gion, as we have shown to be implied in confessing Christ 
before men, then is it the duty of all, to whom the command 
has reached, to make such profession. In the execution of 
their commission, the Apostles went forth and preached 
every where, that men should repent, and believe the gos- 
pel — observe all its ordinances, in the spirit and design of 
their establishment — and that being first willing to do their 
duty, they should bind themselves to do it, by solemn cove- 
nant. 

There is a distinct command of Christ, necessarily imply- 
ing the obligation of all for whom he died, to commemorate 
his death. — " This do, in remembrance of me" — is an ex- 
plicit command, only to his friends : but, as all men are laid 
under obligations to be his friends, by his disinterested sac- 
rifice of his life for them, the command, by implication, ex- 
tends to as many as were ever his enemies. Now, as he 
cannot receive the atonement, who does not cordially be- 
lieve ; so, neither can he receive the symbols of Christ's 
body and blood, to the end for which they were designed, 
without a sincere profession of his belief. We cannot, then, 
seriously doubt, that such is the duty of us all : for since no 
man, under the gospel, can take neutral ground — since 



120 



SERMON IX. 



every man is either the friend, or the enemy of Christ— 
every man is included in the command, to commemorate his 
love in dying for him. 

2. To confess Christ, is the duty of all, inasmuch as it is 
but an act of justice to God. Justice consists in rendering 
to all their dues : and who does not know, that, to the per- 
fections of God, are due the most public, explicit, and cor- 
dial acknowledgments, of all his intelligent offspring ! He 
that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father. Such 
a profession of Christianity, therefore, is, demonstratively, 
the duty of us all ; and the tender and solemn appeal of 
God to our consciences must not pass by us unregarded.— 
" If I be a Father, where is my honor ? If a master, where 
is my fear, saith the Lord of Hosts, unto you that despise 
my name ?" But " to them who fear it, shall the sun of 
righteousness arise, with healing in his beams." 

3. In the third place, the duty of confessing Christ arises 
from our social relations ; and is obvious, from the connec- 
tion in which God has placed us. We live in the midst of 
society. Our conduct is inspected by men ; and is fitted, 
whether it be good or ill, to have influence on those by 
whom we are surrounded. It often does have an influence, 
such as its tendency indicates. All considerations, then, 
which go to evince the propriety of our attachment to our 
supreme Lord and Law-giver, serve equally to show, that it 
is our duty to express that attachment in every honorable 
and lawful manner before men. Especially, is this manifest, 
in view of the reigning defection from God. The apostacy 
of our race brings us all into suspicion. Respect to the di- 
vine declarations, leaves us no ground to believe any man 
the friend of God, who does not avow himself such, and jus- 
tify that avowal by a correspondent life. Not to confess 
Christ before men, is, therefore, to countenance the crimes 
of disaffection, to take part in continuing the show of gen- 



SERMON IX. 



121 



eral revolt. It is to leave men, without ground for suppos- 
ing us the friends of God; and so far, virtually justifying 
the conduct of the wicked, and condemning that of the just. 
I am aware, that it has been said, that religion is wholly a 
secret affair — involving affections and actions, of which man 
has no cognizance — lying only between God and the soul. 
But I have looked in vain, to find this saying supported by 
divine authority. The Law of God, on the contrarj^, teaches 
us decisively, that the religion, which does not extend its in- 
fluence to the welfare of our neighbour, in the same degree 
as to our own, is not acknowledged in heaven — That the re- 
ligion of any man, which is of no use to his neighbour, is 
useless to himself. For this, wo is denounced against him 
who makes others to transgress. For this, all who are dis- 
posed to be on the Lord's side, are required, by positive 
statute, to cease their indiscriminate connection with the 
world — "wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye 
separate, and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will be a 
Father to you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saitb 
the Lord Almighty. 

Love to God and our neighbour, then, and the proper 
manifestation of such love, are so entirely incompatible with 
the neglect to confess Christ before men, that a public pro- 
fession of religion would be the obvious duty of us all, had 
we no explicit command. Consider this argument a little 
more at length. Are we not bound, by every tie of human- 
ity and religion, of parental and fraternal affection, to help 
our fellow men to heaven ; and, for this end, to furnish them 
in all things, an example of obedience to God— a holy ex- 
ample ? But is there any thing holy— is there any thing 
like obedience, in throwing the weight of our influence., 
whether great or small, into the s*cale opposed to the cross 
of Christ ? Is there any thing like obedience, any thing like 
love to our neighbour, in countenancing the delusion, that a 
16 




122 SERMON IX. 

man may be wholly on the Lord's side, and altogether a 
christian, though he do not confess Christ before men ? No 
good man will say to the Lord, in the unsoftened impudence 
of Cain, "am I my brother's keeper ?" No man of good 
judgment will affirm, that to neglect to confess Christ, is 
not, in our circumstances, to lend our influence, and give 
countenance, to the unbelieving world. The church are au- 
thorized to suppose, and the world will suppose, that he who 
does not profess to be a christian, is not a christian— -That 
he who does not pretend to be the disciple of Christ, is not 
his disciple. And this, because, as a general rule it is a cor- 
rect one, that men are no better than their professions indi- 
cate. Profession is now so easy and so safe, and that branch 
of charity which hopeth all things, (not contradicted by pal- 
pable evidence) so generally practised in our churches, that 
he who neglects to profess, withholds unnecessarily one pos- 
itive proof, however weak it be, of loving God, and his 
neighbour. Can any such man say, he has rendered to all 
their dues ? — That he has been just to God ; benevolent, to 
the extent of his ability, to his neighbour 5 and faithful to 
his own soul ? 

4. But, over all, Christ's relation to us, as our Redeem- - 
er, renders obligatory on us, the cordial profession of his 
religion. Let us forget, for a moment, every other relation. 
Let us forget our obligation, even to Christ himself, arising 
from the perfections of his nature, the glories of his person, 
and the excellence of his righteousness. Let us overlook, 
too, all our obligations to him, as the author of our being, 
as the upholder of those heavens, and the source of all phy- 
sical supplies, to this dependant, and richly stored, and pop- 
ulated earth. Let us think of him now, only in the office 
of our Redeemer, executing, with unparalleled skill, and 
kindness, and grace, the whole work of enlightening, and 
ransoming, and subjugating to his dominion, a benighted. 




SERMON IX. 123 

enslaved, and revolted world. Think, a moment, what Je- 
sus Christ has done for our souls — to what he has submits 
ted — and under what circumstances, he has thus acted and 
suffered ! You do not need the detail. Think only general- 
ly, what Christianity has done for the Pagan — for the Savage 
— for Woman — for the victim of oppression — for the dying — 
for every prisoner of the grave ! — Think at what expense — 
for what a race of beings ! See him, who was with God in 
the beginning, him who was God, descending from the 
throne, to take the nature and the form of a servant. Guile- 
less and good, as his condition was humiliating, behold him, 
by the very creatures he came to save, hated, hunted, spurn- 
ed from their presence, mocked, defamed, reviled, scourged, 
spit upon, crucified, and, in the hour of his death, forsaken ! 
And all this, without repenting or repining ; that he might 
bear our iniquities, reconcile us to God, and purify us from 
a moral loathsomeness, such as none but the most indecent 
images in nature, can duly represent. Why all this ? Was 
it for a reward from us ? O ! who can think of profiting a 
mind, rich in perfection, like his ? Angels dare not hope to 
do it. What, sinner ! canst thou do ? No, it was only for 
the joy set before him, of making the bad man holy, and 
the miserable happy. And is it, rational creature ! too much 
to expect in return, that you acknowledge your obligations, 
give him the chief place in your affections, and confess him, 
before men, the chiefest of your friends ? Is this an extrav- 
agant requital of his benefits ? Is this doing something more 
than a sinner's duty ? The most impoverished soul, that 
shall ever breathe the air, and pluck the fruits of the celes- 
tial Paradise, will blush for the man who ever thought it an 
unreasonable service. And the christian of chief attain- 
ments, even on earth, has learned unhesitatingly to sing, 

" Had I ten thousand hearts and lives, 
u My Lord, I'd give them all to thee.*' 



124 



SERMON DL 



Such are the direct proofs, which are furnished us by the 
record, that a profession of Christianity is the duty of us all 
But to all these various evidences, clear and strong as they 
may appear to the serious and candid hearer, it will be ob- 
jected, by one class of men, that God, by express statute, 
has forbidden the wicked to take his covenant in their mouth ; 
that the command, of consequence, extends only to the pure 
in heart. In reply to this objection, let it be remarked, that 
the command is nevertheless binding upon all men, because 
it is the duty of every man, instead of living in sin, to break 
off his sins by righteousness, and his iniquities by turning 
unto the Lord. For "the grace of God, which hath ap- 
peared unto all men, teacheth us, that denying ungodliness, 
and every worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, 
and godly, in this present evil world." The confession of 
Christ, involves obedience to these commands, addressed di- 
rectly to the wicked. The objection, therefore, has no va- 
lidity : for "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, 
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men 5" and 
when, to execute this wrath, Christ shall be revealed from 
heaven, the objects of his vengeance will include all who 
know not, that is, acknowledge not, God, and obey not the 
gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The plea of wickedness, 
for neglecting to confess Christ, is a denial of him, and, at 
the bar of Christ, is only a claim to be denied by him before 
his Father. Let no man longer deceive himself, through such 
a pretext, with the hope that he is not daily neglecting his 
duty in this particular. 

To these various evidences, in relation to the duty of us 
all, it will be objected by another class of men, that the 
church is impure; its doctrines are corrupt, or its practice 
is profane : that the faithful city is spoiled ; righteousness 
lodged in it, but now murderers. Let such men remember 
the only terms on which Christ will receive them. Let them 



SERMON IX. 125 

forsake father and mother, houses and lands, wife and child- 
ren, and all that they have, rather than live in the denial of" 
Christ. Let them go to the ends of the earth, rather than fail 
to confess him before men : and if, in all the christian world, 
they can find no brethren of the Lord, let them inquire how 
far they are from the denial of him, who has promised to 
maintain a church on earth, against which the gates of hell 
shall not prevail. Rather, let them carefully inquire, if on 
them does not rest the curse of Meroz, who, because of im- 
proper attachment to the Canaanites, refused to come up to 
the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the 
mighty. Let them see (if they be serious in their objection) 
if they be not acting in direct opposition to the known will of 
God, and covering, under this specious reason, the rebellious 
objection, who is the Lord, that we should obey his voice ! 
If such be indeed the lustre of their righteousness, that the 
sacred fire of Zion is as darkness, when their light ariseth, 
then, of all men, they are the most pointedly admonished, 
to come up the help of the Lord ; and with the small cords 
to scourge, and with the fan to separate, and with the light 
of truth in doctrine, and of holiness in their example, to pu- 
rify, till the Temple be freed from its mercenaries ; and all 
who worship in it, be clothed with the robes of righteousness, 
and attired in the garments of salvation. 

There is still a third class of men, who, in defiance of all 
this various evidence, feel it rather their duty to decline a 
profession of Christianity, for want of the qualifications of a 
christian. Yes, lamentable as is the fact, there are sober 
men, who thus make a merit of their disobedience, and com- 
pass themselves about with sparks, and walk in the light of 
no other fire, than their own hands have kindled. They 
neglect to confess Christ, because they are unworthy of the 
blessings of his disciples. What is this, but to say, they 
owe him less than is due to the world, or more than they 



126 



SERMON IX, 



are willing to acknowledge ? What is this but to make diso- 
bedience a virtue ; and to resolve on perseverance in the 
neglect of privileges, because unworthy to enjoy, or unable 
to merit them ? What is it, but to make light of the invita- 
tions of the gospel, and to despise and reject both the offerer 
and the gift ? If this ground be tenable, the plea of unworth- 
iness proves disobedience a duty. What a sentiment is this, 
to carry to the tribunal of him who has commanded us to 
confess him before men. Who ever heard, that it w r as more 
worthy of a sinner, to disobey his Lord, and refuse the ser- 
vice enjoined, than to do it, though it be but imperfectly ? 
O ! mistaken man, if the plea of unworthiness can furnish 
any recommendation,' we may avail ourselves of it when we 
have done all that is commanded us. Even then, we shall 
be able to say, we are unprofitable servants— we have con- 
ferred no favor. Can any enlightened conscience, then, be 
satisfied with the excuse ? Does Christ offer the privileges of 
his kingdom to a sinner, and leave him innocent in refusing 
to receive them ? Hearken, brethren ! These offended 
privileges were purchased by his blood ; and to despise 
the gift, is to despise the blood which purchased the gift, 
and thus, to despise the victim, and the God who ordained 
and accepted the sacrifice. The plea of unworthiness, then, 
considered as an objection to the evidence of our obligation 
to confess Christ, is in the last degree absurd. Christ does 
not stake our liberty to receive the gospel, on any contin- 
gency concerning our state ; nor found our duty, on our 
worthiness to receive the privilege. But, without any con- 
dition, requires us to confess him before men ; and bids us, 
without any reservation, use and enjoy all the privileges of 
the gospel, and whoever has any just sense of his obligation 
to Christ, joined with any sincere desires to perform the du- 
ties thence arising, must not fail to avow his attachment to 



SERMON IX. 



127 



the Saviour, and join himself to his people and his ordin- 
ances. 

But there is a fourth class, whose serious and sober life, 
and whose conscientious scruples, demand an answer, not to 
their objections, for they have none, but to their inquiries. 
Men who hope in God, who trust, at tin^that they are the 
friends of Christ, but whose fears and doubts of their godly 
sincerity prevail. What in these circumstances is our duty I 
Unquestionably the same with that of any other man — to 
confess Christ — before which, an Apostle would only say, 
" Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith : prove 
your own selves ; Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates — 
He is in you, the only hope of glory." The man who is sin- 
cerely desirous of avoiding every sin, (and this is character- 
istic of the christian) cannot be contented and happy, while 
living in neglect of so important a duty — while guilty of 
disobedience to so plain a command. He will ever have 
reason to reproach his conscience, till it cease to slumber; 
and when it is awaked, it will never cease to reproach him, 
till he have respect to all God's commandments. 

The more tender our conscience, the more godly our jeal- 
ousy, and the more solicitous we are to avoid hypocrisy, 
and fearful, lest we dishonor our profession — the more cer- 
tain is it, that we shall be single in our aims, prayerful in 
our temper, and circumspect in our conversation. Happy 
the man, who thus feareth alway. To such it was said, 
what carefulness did it operate in you, yea, what vehement 
desire, yea what indignation, zeal, revenge, and anxiety in 
all things to escape sin, to be clear of guilt. 

What then is the conclusion of the whole matter I To the 
openly vicious, we say, you deny Christ in the sense of the 
text, whether you profess to be his disciple or not. As you 
value the soul, then, we intreat you, believe with the heart 
unto righteousness; and make confession, with the mouth, 



126 



SERMON IX. 



unto salvation. To all who do this, the promise is explicit ; 
to all who decline, in wilful disobedience, the threat is abso- 
lute. Confess Christ then. You have nothing to sacrifice, 
in order to this, but your sins. In former times more was 
necessary. Christ was then to be confessed at the actual 
sacrifice, not onl^Wf sin, but of friends and reputation, pro- 
perty, liberty, and life. Yet there were men, who counted 
it all joy to fall into these divers temptations : who took 
joyfully, the spoiling of their goods : who cheerfully became 
as the offscouring of all things, and emulous of laying down 
their lives ; thankful to have so much to offer in sacrifice to 
Christ. If, with scarce any of these temptations and suffer- 
ings, then, you refuse to follow them in confessing Christ, 
what will be your feelings, and what your condemnation, 
when you stand by their side, to hear the comparison of 
your characters, by your common Judge, and your respec- 
tive correspondent doom ! Should you — having no worse 
natures than they had, fewer obstacles, superior advantages, 
and perhaps no more vicious habits to surmount — should 
you still refuse, how T will that comparison confound you ! 
And who knows, but you may be called to the trial, before 
another sabbath is gone ? Who can tell, but this very night, 
thy soul shall be required ? 

With all other classes of men, neither openly vicious, nor 
destitute of a secret hope that they are the friends of Christ, 
but who still live in neglect of a public profession of his 
name, we must seriously expostulate. You say, in sober 
contemplation of this subject, (and you say it by divine au- 
thority) " it is better not to vow, than to vow and not 
pay" — But can you say, by the same authority, that it is 
better neither to enter into covenant with God, nor be sted- 
fast in that covenant, than to engage, in dependence on the 
grace of Christ, to be obedient ? It may be that there are 
men, indulging the hope of impunity, in the neglect of this 



SERMON IX. 



129 



duty. It may be there are some, who bless themselves in 
their heart, as did those under the legal dispensation, who 
flattered themselves that the charge of covenant-breakers 
should never rest on them — who said, we shall have peace, 
though we walk in the imagination of our hearts. But re- 
collect the answer of Moses. — The anger of the Lord, and 
his jealousy, shall smoke against that man, and all the curses 
of the covenant-breaker, though he vowed not, shall be up- 
on him : and the Lord shall blot out his name from under 
heaven. Thus must it be done unto the man, whose heart 
turns away from the covenant of his God, in order to escape 
the curse. If the certain knowledge that we are not the 
Lord's, will not excuse us in the violation of this command} 
how much less^ will those doubts and fears which accompa- 
ny the hope that God is not ashamed to be called our God* 
Let us not forget, that unnecessarily to neglect a public pro- 
fession of Christ, is to deny him : and though it may be pos- 
sible, in some circumstances, without the ordinary form of 
profession, to confess him, it is difficult to conceive, in our 
circumstances, of the existence of such a necessity. Thus ? 
beloved hearers, all men are shut up to the faith ; and all of 
us, to the profession of the faith. 

Think not that I am thus earnest on this subject, merely 
because it would give me pleasure to see the church increase, 
God forbid ! No man shall ever accuse me, of urging on 
him a profession of religion, with a heart, or life, ready to 
contradict it. The possession, is essential to the honest pro- 
fession of godliness. The two parts of duty are inculcated 
together in the word of God ; and presumptuous is the 
Teacher who disjoins them in his precept, and equally so, 
the professor who separates them in his example. But I 
would be earnest, and, if possible, excite a greater earnest- 
ness in you, because— 
17 



13b 



SERMON IX. 



III. In the third place, the duty is enforced by Jesus 
Christ, with the most glorious and awful sanction. To 
those who obey the command, and do his will, the Lord 
and Judge of men, makes an explicit promise of glory, 
honor, and immortality. To those who wilfully disobey 
and neglect their duty, he solemnly proclaims it as his inten- 
tion, forever to reject them. "Whosoever, therefore, shall 
confess me before men, him will I also confess, before my 
Father which is in heaven ; but whosoever shall deny me 
before men, him will I also deny," in the same public and 
final Judgment. 

Say not, then, with the hope of satisfying a good con- 
science—say not, with the expectation of thus obtaining the 
approbation of honest men — above all, say not, with the pre- 
sumptuous confidence, of honoring and pleasing God ; that 
you will not, cannot confess Christ, because }'ou do not love 
him — because you are not a believer. Would it excuse me, 
in your consciences, were I to neglect my duty to you, as a 
minister of the gospel, all my life, if I could tell you at last, 
that I never was a believer f Would you honor me for 
this ? Would you forgive me ? Would you spare me your 
condemnation ? I know you would not : I am conscious 
you ought not. How much less, on the same plea, will the 
Judge of all, excuse the man who neglects, all his life, his 
duty to him ! I tell you, beloved hearer, he will deny that 
man before his Father ; and then, if never before, that man 
will feel that is a fearful thing to refuse obedience to a plain 
command of the living God. 

Weigh well, then, I conjure you, the import of these 
words. What is it to be denied by Jesus Christ in the 
Father's presence ? To what will it be equivalent, in the 
day of Judgment ? Recollect, the Father loves the Son, 
even as he loves himself — That all judgment is committed 
to him — That whom he commends, the Father accepts ; 



SERMON IX. 



131 



whom he denies, the Father disowns. To be denied thus, is 
then to be abhorred of God, banished from his presence, and 
made partakers of the portion and wretchedness of hypo- 
crites. Yes, the unbeliever must share the same doom with 
the hypocrite, whom you so despise. God detests their 
characters alike, and has decreed them the same place. 
They shall share each other's company, and in the future 
world, dwell together without intermission, and without 
end. Are any of you prepared for this ? Can you delib- 
erately consent to be excluded from the presence of the 
Lord — from the company of angels — from the church of 
the first-born — from the spirits of just men made perfect ; 
and from God the Judge of all? And do you prefer such 
a destiny! to the abandonment of your unbelief, or any of 
the pleasures of sin ? Is a life of self-denial, sobriety, 
righteousness, and godliness, less pleasurable than a life of 
sinful gratification, worldliness, and impiety I Is such to be 
your deliberate preference ? Mourn, then, as we may, 
over your wretched choice, and resist, as we will, the sup- 
position of its rectitude, or impunity y still, we must sub- 
mit. We can use no violence with you, but that of ar- 
gument and affection : for man is free, and every crea- 
ture must choose his course of life, and meet a corres- 
ponding fate. To persuade yon to duty, by turning the 
will, is impossible with man : but all things, we know, 
are possible with God. Who, then, will confess Christ 
before men, without unnecessary delay ? Who will come 
on the Lord's side, from an unbelieving world ? Who 
will profess himself the friend of Christ ? Let him act 
with decision, and in simplicity, and godly sincerity, and 
remember, that Christ commended those virgins only, 
who took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 



SERMON X. 



THE CHRISTIAN RACE. 

Hebrews xii, 1. 

Wherefore, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud 
of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which 
doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race 
that is set before us, looking unto Jesus. 

The Olympian, Isthmian and Pythian Games, though 
unknown to us, were subjects familiar to the people whom 
Paul addressed, and fitly became topics of frequent allusion 
in his writings. The inhabitants of Greece and Rome were 
fond of these sports, and celebrated for their expertness in 
all athletic exercises. Rome being mistress of the nations 
in the first age of Christianity, whatever was interesting in 
her customs and manners naturally attracted general notice. 
It was wise, therefore, in the sacred writers, to draw their 
illustrations of religious truth from customs familiar to their 
contemplation ; and this is their reason for representing the 
christian life, by the images of a cross, as the figure of its 
trials — a combat, as a picture of its dangers and conflicts — 



SERMON X. 



133 



and a race, as the emblem of its activity. In the foot-race 
here alluded to, many competitors voluntarily engaged. A 
great crowd of spectators, denoted by the cloud of witnesses, 
lined either side the course, and he only who first reached 
the goal, was decreed the prize. That prize consisted in a 
chaplet or crown of laurel, or some other evergreen, placed 
upon the brow of the victor, and in the acclamations of the 
populace. The christian life bears some analogy to this. 
There is a prize proposed to us. It is a crown of righteous- 
ness. It is decreed to him alone, who engages, against ev- 
ery solicitor of his heart, to devote it to God, and by faith 
in things unseen, to regulate his affections and his steps, 
and to overcome the world. To this enterprize he is called 
by the gospel ; and to obtain the prize of this high calling, 
he is to keep the course prescribed by Jesus Christ. For 
this end, he divests himself of every incumbrance of flesh 
and spirit which might defeat his end ; and labours to per- 
fect holiness in the fear of God, and the hope of immortal 
life which is promised in Christ Jesus. To him he is to 
look, as his forerunner, and model, and hope ; and also, as 
the Judge who awards the prize. While, to animate and 
encourage him in the honorable pursuit, he is to remember 
that the spirits around the throne, who have been witnesses 
to the truth, are also the witnesses of his exertions, and will 
shortly be the spectators of his defeat or triumph, as he is 
slothful in business, or fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. 
These, if I mistake not, are the thoughts suggested by the 
Apostle, both to the Hebrew and the Corinthian Churches, 
in these striking images ; and their brief illustration, and an 
argument to enforce the enjoined duty, will form the several 
topics of this discourse. 

1. First, and mark it, hearer ! the christian life is a life 
of exertion — of holy diligence. From those strong expres- 
sions of the freeness of salvation, with which the gospel 



134 



SERMON X. 



abounds, the presumptuous mind infers that all human ef- 
forts to obtain it are fruitless. And because- this practical 
error accords with the natural aversion of man to religion, 
and is congenial to his slothful habits, this delusive and fatal 
notion has many advocates. Whoever, notwithstanding, has 
carefully followed the great lights of the Church through 
their pilgrimage, examined their principles, inspected their 
conduct, and observed their spirit, has not been thus deceived. 
God is not mocked. Human effort, mighty, and persever- 
ing, he commands ; and whatsoever a man soweth, that shall 
he also reap. Wo, therefore, to him who is at ease inZion. 
All christian example, as well as precept, assures us, that 
to work out our salvation, is no less necessary than to ago- 
nize to enter the way of life. In the doctrine of Christ too, 
we are taught, that though grace is sovereign and free, it is 
not inoperative — That though eternal life is the gift of God,, 
it is a life of service for God, a life of vigilance and a labor 
of love. God works in us to do as well as to will, and im- 
parts grace and strength to his people, not to render their 
efforts needless, but to make them sure and availing. Not 
to furnish an excuse, for standing all the day idle in his 
vineyard, but to render their engagedness efficacious to de- 
liverance from moral pollution. What bad been the end of 
the competitor in the foot race, had he declined to prepare 
himself, or refused to run, because he perceived that the 
crown was neither woven, nor merited by his exertions? Re- 

« ligious truth is never at war with common sense ; and her 
verdict is, that no man can make his calling and election 
sure, who gives not diligence to this end. And for the same 
reason that the grain of our fields, though the gift of God, 
comes to us only through the channel of man's vigorous en- 

^ terprize, and rational agency. Free, therefore, as salvation 
is, it will not come to him who seeks not the kingdom of 
God and his righteousness ; nor, through any other channel. 



SERMON X. 



135 



than his own patient continuance in such seeking. What ! 
know ye not that in a race, men run; and that a man can- 
not run without toil ; nor advance without continued ef- 
fort ; nor reach the goal without perseverance unto the 
end of the course ? Neither, without doing despite to the 
spirit of grace, can a christian be barren and unfruitful in 
the work of the Lord. Every page of the gospel enforces 
some duty on man : and can either God or my neighbor do 
the work assigned me to do ? Or is any duty performed, 
without an effort of the mind and heart ? The christian life, 
is a spiritual journey to Zion — a passing from one stage of 
pilgrimage to another — a progression in knowledge, and 
hope, and holiness — a pressing toward the mark — a reach- 
ing forth to some point to which we have not attained. And 
is all this practicable without any exertion ? The cross we 
are required to bear, is not, indeed, a material burden ; nor 
is our daily self-denial, a literal yoke ; nor yet our life a 
mere foot-race : but as surely as the Gymnastic failed of 
the oaken garland, when neglectful of preparing himself by 
abstinence and unguents, or when he trusted to those pre- 
parations without subsequent application of his muscular 
energy, so certainly the sinner, if idle, will fail of salvation 
by Christ. What his hands find to do, is to be done with 
his might ; and if the kingdom of heaven is to be taken only 
by force, he must be violent in the conflict. The lagging 
traveller, and the slumbering virgin, are in danger. The 
light to which the path of the just is compared, is steady in 
its ascending course, and stops not till the perfect day. 
Cast not away, christian ! your confidence of obtaining the 
prize ; it has a great recompense of rew ard. But is this in- 
junction addressed to the loiterer, the backslider, the man 
who is at ease because he can do nothing ? No, they have no 
such confidence ; or, if they have, the sooner it is cast away 
the more hope of them. From this explanation of the figure 



136 



SERMON X. 



you have seen, that without holy activity, no man lives the 
life of a christian. 

2. Let us, nexi, look upon the prize, and see if it be not 
worthy to animate us to such exertion* Did it consist in 
any thing so little, and so short lived as a Wreath^ or crown — 
Had the author and finisher of the faith toiled and died, to 
secure to his followers dominion over a few millions of acres, 
and pledged them only a cap of gold, in token of the right 
to receive homage from a promiscuous company of well and 
ill-dressed sinners, the prize were unworthy one moment's 
solicitude ; and one painful step to obtain it, would be dis- 
proportionate to the reward in a creature struggling for im- 
mortality. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, such is not the crown, suspended on our obe- 
dience to the gospel. Compared with it, the diadem of 
Alexander and the Ceesars, are children's toys. 'Tis intel- 
lectual and moral glory, hearers ! — a crown of righteous- 
ness — for which you are to run. It is an empire over the 
world within, and a superiority to the world without. It is 
a seat on the throne of the Prince of peace ; and alliance 
with all the nations of the redeemed. It is a kingdom — and, 
unlike all others, one which can never be subverted ; and 
for which, when you have received it, you serve God with 
religious reverence and holy fervor. All other crowns are 
subject to irreverence while worn, fade and decay with 
time, sit heavy on the head of the wearer, and never, no, 
never reward the labor of earning — never compensate the 
disquietude of maintaining : and after all, like the plumage 
of the vain and empty bird, they must be shed. The crown 
of righteousness, on the contrary, derives its glory from its 
intrinsic worth. Such, christian ! is the prize, of your high 
calling in Christ. Tell me if it be unworthy the solicitude 
and active zeal, which its authorized expectation demands $ 
3. But who is emulous of a glory such as this ? Who of 



SERMON X. 



131 



this assembly would wear that crown ? Let him, in the 
third place, lay aside every weight, and renounce every sin, 
however strongly and easily it beset him, and follow after 
that for which he is apprehended of Christ, with unabating 
diligence. For, whoever runs, like the Apostle, not as un- 
certainly, or fights, not as one beating the air, strips himself 
of every incumbrance ; brings his body into subjection, and 
every high thought and imagination which exalts itself 
against the knowledge of God, and dies daily ; the world is 
crucified to him, and he unto the world. 

In the Isthmian game, the course was marked out for the 
racers by other hands, and not dictated by their wishes, or 
views of propriety ; and no deviation from it was admissible. 
Equally well defined, and equally fatal a deviation from it, 
is the path of life, prescribed by Jesus Christ. Our will 
and wisdom, is neither concerned in settling it, nor in an 
attempt to mend. It is not to be conformed to the views of 
the world, but the world are to be transformed, by the re- 
newing of their minds, to prove what is the good and accept- 
able and perfect will of God. We are to take the christian 
course, the high-way of holiness, as it is marked out in the 
gospel ; and to keep it scrupulously, in defiance of every as- 
sault, in disregard of every human project to shorten or fa* 
cilitate the way. From the word of God we may diminish 
nothing ; to its testimony, add nothing. The bounds are 
fixed ; and be the popular delusion what it may, and exten- 
sive as it will, he will not be crowned who dares to alter the 
direction, or abridge the course. Throw off, then, your rea- 
\ soning pride, whence cometh contention ; and receive the 
kingdom of God as a little child. He is not a follower of 
Christ, who makes his own system of doctrine, and precept, 
and consolation, and sanctions : nor he who seeks, or re- 
ceives, honor from men, instead of that which comes from 
God only. The single eye must precede, and accompany 
13 



138 



SERMON X. 



all our steps, or we are beguiled from the simplicity which 
is in Chrisi. Undiverted by other objects, and regardless 
of the devices of competitors, nothing remains to impede our 
progress. Thus moved and governed, the scandals of pro- 
fessors, the multiplicity of sects, the maxims, and habits, and 
customs of the church, and the world, the suggestions of the 
flesh, and the fiery darts of the adversary, will, neither in 
their single nor combined influence, be able to turn us aside 
or obstruct our way. 

Part then, cheerfully, with whatever encumbers you, with- 
out delay, and run the race set before you in the gospel. Is 
it the love of the world ? God dwells not in the same bosom 
with Mammon. Is it the love of pleasure ? "She that liv- 
eth in pleasure, is dead while she liveth." Is it a careful- 
ness and trouble of heart about many things ? But one 
thing is needful. Is it the perplexities of business, en- 
croaching on the hours of devotion — the intrusion of friends 
— the entanglements of worldly relatives, occupying the 
place which is assigned to God, and attendance on his or- 
dinances ? Is it the desire of riches, or the engrossing 
thoughts of the benefits which their acquisition would afford? 
Is it any work of castle-building, which thrusts present duty 
from your solicitude, and finds you boasting of to-morrow, 
and diverting your mind from the course to the goal. Be it 
what it may, it must be laid aside, and left behind. Search 
every man for his own incumbrances. What are yours, am- 
bitious christian ! what but goads, which wound you in the 
face, and check your progress ; instead of that thirst for the 
waters of life, which inflames desire, and urges on your pace ? 
Of this nature are those emulations and strifes, which, under 
the pretext of duty to the public, or your earthly relations, 
prevent you from fulfilling the duties of your relation to God. 
Such also, in its nature and tendency, is that deference to 
the opinions of your neighbors, which, instead of keeping 



SERMON X. 



139 



you from temptation, leads you into it with diminished power 
to surmount it. O ! when will you reach the goal, if you 
have first to gain the consent of all around you to the ne- 
cessity of keeping the vale of christian humility ? Farewell, 
ambitious christian ! we shall never see your face in heaven. 

I turn to the unstable and unsettled christian — always 
nalting between two opinions — whose incumbrances are 
found in those endless speculations and disputes about the 
way, which leave him no time to walk in it ; which occupy 
the space assigned him for working out his own salvation. 
Yours, unhappy man ! is a dead weight, and a fruitless 
work — a busy idleness — a contest for the skeleton of reli- 
gion, which destroys the appetite for the " sincere milk of 
the word" — the nutriment by which we grow. It is that 
critical spirit, which makes all the sermons you hear minis- 
ter to your vanity, rather than to godly edifying. " Ephraim 
is a silly dove, without heart" in his religious course. 

What are your incumbrances, latitudinarian christian ! 
but the lethargic fruits of a spurious Catholicism ; which, 
embracing every error as innocent, and every creature as an 
heir of heaven, leaves you secure in sinful indifference to the 
essential truths and duties of Christianity ? Rouse yourself 
from your apathy, by adopting the infallible adage, " na 
cross, no crown." 

Irresolute christian ! you too, are incumbered. A reli- 
gious lassitude sinks the spirit of active goodness to pusil- 
lanimous weakness, makes duty to God a drudgery, and 
leaves you lagging behind every pilgrim, or lurking in bye- 
paths as if there were a lion in the way. 

And what are your incumbrances, self-sufficient and indo- 
cile christian ! but a conceit of wisdom which even God's 
appointed ordinances cannot augment, and which leaves you, 
from year to year, without any advances in knowledge, in 
humility, or any other grace ? Of every such candidate, 



s 



140 



SERMON X. 



says the oracle of God, " there is more hope of a fool than 
of him." 

To give every man his portion, I turn to the formal and 
mechanical religionist, with the same enquiry — What are 
your incumbrances, unenvied man ! always regular, but al- 
ways unaffected— the organs of the body ever in place, and 
moving to fulfil their office, but the heart never moved ? 
What but a chill, frosty state of soul, from which the vital 
fluid goes forth to fulfil its round, but with such a defect of 
impetus, as to furnish ground for alarm, lest it should never 
be able to creep back again ? What, in fact, but a load of 
fleshly indulgences, hanging as lead upon the wings which, 
like the eagle's, should be bearing you toward the heavens ? 

But I must address a word to the desponding christian. 
You too, beloved victim of over-much sorrow ! have a weight 
to lay aside. Not indeed an imaginary load ; but, what is 
worse, a load of dark imaginations, originated by the 
tempter and accuser of the brethren. You have been too 
easily persuaded to a comparison of yourself with livelier 
christians, rather than with the word of God. You have 
been looking at the degree, instead of the nature of your af- 
fections. Put away that brooding over your impotence and 
infirmities, by which, instead of cherishing, you quench, 
the little spark of life within you. A cheerful heart does 
f good like a medicine. Chide your desponding spirit, with 
the man of God — "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? 
Why are thou disquieted within me ?" Turn away from 
that melancholy spectre, by means of which, the spirit of 
the deep envelopes your path in mists, to keep off your eyes 
from the sufficiency which is in Christ. Cursed spirit ! 
which leads you, by false application of texts and provi- 
dences, to deny or pervert the truth ; aud converts merciful 
correction^ and reproofs, into demonstrative evidence that 
God has forsaken you. Let him no longer despoil you of 



t 



SERMON X. 



141 



the christian armor— the shield of faith, the helmet of salva- 
tion, and the sword of the spirit — nor further stay your steps, 
by means of a self-interpreting spirit ; but allow the word 
of God to be its own interpreter. 

Recur now, a moment, to the significant figure in the 
text, and say, if any man, running in the race, would load 
himself with weights, cumbrous and discouraging like these ? 
Does he not, rather, cast away every garment which decen- 
cy can spare ; much more, the heavy ornaments of his per- 
son ; and even fillet down his hair, lest, by his speed, it be 
wreathen about his eyes, obscure his vision, and expose him 
to stumble or to lose his way. Thus wise, be ye, children 
of light ! in your generation; and while your feet are shod 
with the preparation of the gospel of peace, let your whole 
heart be engaged ; and, undiverted by any thing around 
you, be sober and hope to the end, for the grace which is to 
be brought unto you, at the revelation of the Lord from 
heaven : not fashioning yourselves after the former lusts, in 
your ignorance ; but "as he who has called you is holy, so 
be ye holy in all manner of conversation." 

But these incumbrances are not all ; nor, thanks be to 
God, are they found resting upon all. Yet who is there 
without an easily besetting sin ? If escaped from all the pol- 
lutions which are in the world, through the lusts which have 
been noticed, are you all wholly clean, and pure from your 
sin ? Have you made your way perfect, according to the 
measure of the stature of Chrst ? Stripped of everything 
else, if you spare one bosom sin, you hazard the loss of all 
things : and this you will spare if you do not detect it. 5 Tis 
not enough that others discover it, if its lurking place be 
concealed from you. What then is that iniquity, professed 
enemy of all iniquity, and zealous friend of good works ! 
which you commit so easily, you cannot tell how, so com- 
monly you know not when ? In the Apostle's time, it seems 



142 



SERMON X. 



to have been a sin common to the Church, and to believers 
without the Church. It led Nicodemus, and Nathaniel, 
and many others, to confess Christ only in the dark ; not 
openly, for fear of the Jews. The dread of persecution, or 
the distrust of God's faithfulness to his promises, in which 
that dread originated, beset them ? But are you afraid of the 
world's scoff ? — Cannot you bear to be their jest and song } — 
Are you ashamed of the gospel of Christ, and of a practical 
adherence to its strictest precepts, lest you should be thought 
singular, precise, and superstitious f What is the sin which 
easily besets us ; or is the church so pure that such an evil 
no longer exists t Whatever it be, common or peculiar, ap- 
ply to it the language of the vine dresser — " cut it down" — 
let it no longer shade the plants of righteousness. Spare 
not a natural branch, nor trunk, nor a fibre of the root. 
With some professing christians it is selfishness ; but the 
temper of Christ's followers is benevolence. With many, 
this generic sin exhibits itself in covetousness ; but this is 
idolatry, and no idolater wins the crown, or wears it. In 
others, it betrays itself through a habit of slander, and rash 
judgment; but he who shall dwell in the hill of the Lord, 
"backbiteth not with his tongue, nor taketh up a reproach 
against his neighbor." He who judgeth his brother, is not a 
doer of the law, but its transgressor. With some, it is a 
high look, and a proud heart ; but it is the poor in spirit, 
whom the high and lofty One resolves to crown. It may 
be, with many it is, a habit of religious sloth — of spiritual 
slumber. Instead of Christ's righteousness, of which such 
make an empty boast, this habit will clothe a man in rags. 
Lukewarmness in the christian, is nauseous to all the wit- 
nesses who look on us from above, and excites the secret 
contempt, or suspicion, of all below, who watch either for 
our halting, or our improvement. Christian I be thine own 
accuser and judge, and not thy neighbor's. Search out thy 



SERMON X. 



143 



bosom sin : spare it not, for being your oic-n : carry it to 
the altar of your Redeemer, and slay it before him. Even 
then, one thing more is necessary before the prize is won. 

4. But having thus entered the course, aud run well, 
you must endure to the end, or you cannot be saved. In 
the literal race, they who win, instead of relaxing, increase 
their speed as they approach the goal. Christian constan- 
cy, or the patience of hope, is indispensable to life. No 
matter how vigorous and prompt in preparation, or promis- 
ing the prospects of the candidate in his earlier stage, if he 
faint before he has fiuished his course, the prize is lost. — " If 
any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." 
Temporary engagedness, and even superior skill, in the out- 
set, is a pledge of final triumph which must be redeemed. 
- Present obedience, is the only infallible proof of former con- 
version. Nor think the demand of the whole heart, and all 
the life, disproportionate to the Saviour's love, or the disci- 
ple's reward. The life of the christian, no less than that of 
the sinner, is but a vapor ; and though it were double toil 
and trouble, it would seem equally transient when dissipated i 
and then, how delightful the consummation ! The prize, not 
only undefiled and uncorruptible, but eternal in the heavens. 
And, to temperance in all things, is it too much to add pa- 
tience and perseverance also ? Many have yet to put on the 
sandals : all have yet the race to run. In the undissembled 
language of the life then — in the unquestionable fruits of 
the spirit — let us say, we will subordinate every interest, 
suspend every business, sacrifice every passion, relinquish 
every darling object of pursuit, to accelerate our progress 
and secure our end. Like the children of this world, but 
with nobler aim, let us watch for every revolution of the 
wheel of Providence, that may animate us to constancy, en- 
rich our prospects, and diminish the causes of doubt ; and 
which may afford proof, of the inexhaustible resources, 



♦ 



144 



SERMON X. 



of the Author of the faith, and give additional security that 
the crown, promised to the victor, shall be our's. 

II. Our second object is to enforce the duty. And for 

this — 

1. Consider, first, the superior advantages of the com- 
petitor, in the christian calling : — the more glorious prize, 
the honorable character of the pursuit, and the examples set 
before us. The oaken garland, and the laurel wreath, the 
silver sceptre, and the golden crown, are perishable when 
won — are liable to canker, rust, or fade. Yet great are the 
hardships, long the toil, and discouraging the way, endured 
to obtain them. On the goal which terminates the chris- 
tian's race, hangs a crown, which estimated, either accord- 
ing to its beauty, cost, or durability, human science is unable 
to compute, or comprehend. Its beauty, comparable only 
with Christ's excellence which passes knowledge ; the price 
of it, his blood ; and, in duration, lasting as his Throne. ^ 

2. Another advantage of the christian, over every world- 
ly course, is, that instead of hardship, in the pursuit, yoa 
have pleasure ; in the end, instead of disappointment, tri- 
umph. The more diligent and laborious in it, the greater 
your refreshment ; and in a conscious doing of the Father's 
will, and a finishing his work with approbation, a luxury the 
world knows nothing of. While the way of transgressors is 
hard, all that is painful in yours, is chargeable, not on your 
exertion, but remissness. Toil, indeed, you must, and suffer 
too, if the spirit of glory and of God rest upon your head, 
as well as the blessing of many ready to perish : but toil and 
trial, are only an appendage to your condition; the glory 
and the joy, result from the nature of the pursuit. 

3. Over all, you have the advantage, not of uninterested, 
but disinterested motive. Know ye not, that in every earth- 
ly career, though all run, but one receiveth the prize ? — 
That contention of course, and envy, and wrath, and malig- 



SERMON X. 



145 



aant strife, mingle in the scene ? — That even the successful 
adventurer, finds the joy of victory, and the spoil of triumph, 
embittered? Not so in this contest: and this is the disci- 
ple's boast, that every competitor ma}* win ; and that the 
more sure he makes his own success, the less is he in any 
brother's way. No place is found for animosity ; but each, 
in honor preferring one another, helps on his rival's joy. 
Instead of shouting, and a sordid triumph, when a companion 
falls, he who is strong, bears the infirmities of the weak ; 
and he who stands, gladly raises up the fallen, and encour- 
ages the faint. For our brethren's and companions'' sake, 
we can speak comfortably to Jerusalem, till her warfare be 
accomplished ; and, because the household of the Lord is one, 
still seek their good. Such is the pre-eminence of the 
christian's spirit — ever breathing good will to men, peace in 
heaven, and glory in the highest. 

4. Fourthly, whoever obtains, inherits, the crown to his 
own glory. The wicked are always in bondage. They toil 
for a master who gives them scant materials, requires the full 
tale, and yet takes all the avails of their labour to himself. 
At vast expense, they yield the God of this world the honor, 
and take their reward in drudging at his back. But God 
our master, seeks no profit from our righteousness; and 
whoever cheerfully serves in Ms kingdom, is sure to enrich 
himself. 

6. Finally, my brethren, take for your example, in this 
nobler enterprize, the Patriarchs and Prophets, whose fidel- 
ity you see already crowned with success. Remember whom 
you follow — the excellent of the earth — men distinguished 
for all that is heroic in spirit, pure in intention, and praise- 
worthy in action — men beloved in the very heavens — men 
who, having trod the course before you, have smoothed the 
way for your feet — men now become the companions of an- 
gels, of Jesus our elder brother, and of God the judge of all. 
19 



146 



SERMON X. 



O ! shall the votaries of a mad ambition, run their career 
with enthusiastic ardor, and rise with the bird in daily song 
to compass the inglorious object of their toil ; and shall 
heaven look down upon the heirs of immortality, and find 
them dragging heavily in the chariot ©f salvation ? See, 
christians ! the whole host of the faithful, ranging themselves 
along the lines of the course, eager to behold your progress. 
Imagine yourselves compassed about with all that cloud of 
noble witnesses, who sealed the testimony with their blood, 
watching your every movement, emulous of the pleasure of 
seeing you come off successful, and ready to fill the arches 
of heaven with acclamations, and songs of triumph, as you 
successively complete your labors. In conformity with this 
grand thought of the Apostle, imagine, when you begin to 
doubt, distrust, or loiter, that here stands the father of be- 
lievers, watching, with parental tenderness and patriarchal 
dignity, his spiritual offspring of this generation — That there. 
you meet the eye which looked with contempt on the splen- 
dor of Pharaoh's court, because he had respect to the recom- 
pense of the reward — And that yonder, stand side by side, 
waiting your advancement, the noble army of Prophets, and 
Evangelists, and Martyrs, to encourage you ; and the good- 
ly company of the Apostles, who became all things for the 
elect's sake, to win you to Christ ; and who, in their writings, 
still tenderly warn, by the terrors of his frown, and by the 
mercies of God, beseech you, that you neither faint, nor re- 
ceive the grace of God in vain. See how they stand, reach 
forth, and gaze intently, solicitous to see the issue. See, 
high above them all, in the midst of the throne, stands a 
Lamb, as it had been slain, now crowned with light, a gold- 
en censer in his hand, with much incense, ready to be offer- 
ed with your prayers upon the golden altar. Crowns with- 
out number lie around his feet, for as many as are written in 
the book of life. He too, is a witness to your faithfulness. 



SERMON X. 147 

or hypocrisy — He who led the glorious way, and opened the 
path to the sinner's re-ascent to God. See, he beckons you: 
the language of the token is, come up hither. And will you 
not look to Jesus ? — For you he endured the cross, and 
despised the shame. You must look to him, for your model, 
and crown : — To his mysterious person, and his more mys- 
terious love ; to his offices, and his award. And, having 
seen his glory, and caught a glimpse of the prize, say if you 
can willingly lose sight, and take leave of them forever ! 
The remainder of your course is short : the goal is near ; 
and the prize suspended on your fidelity. Do you not hear 
his voice ?- — "Be thou faithful unto death, and 1 will give 
thee a crown of life." "He that overcometh, shall not be 
hurt of the second death ; but shall inherit all things." 

What is your answer to the messenger of God ; or shall 
he leave you hesitating f Stay, recording angel ! till, from 
every heart in this assembly, you shall carry back the holy 
purpose of looking unto Jesus — till each shall have resolved, 
Lord, I will leave all, and follow thee. Presumptuous hope ! 
while there are so many here, who are labouring to serve 
two masters. Too strait the gate, too narrow the way of 
life for them, who will not part with every incumbrance. 
And as we successively quit the theatrical scenes around us, 
how very few will be heard to say — "I have finished my 
course, I have kept the faith : henceforth there is laid up for 
me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous 
judge shall give me in that day." 

Hearers ! though primarily addressed to the church, this 
subject has not a very remote application to the world. For 
in the eye of God, every man is a candidate, though every 
one is not a competitor, for the crown. It is not optional 
with you, as it was with the gymnastic, whether your name 
shall be entered on the list. The King and Lord of the 
whole earth commands you to run. By his authority your 



148 



SERMON X. 



name is enrolled : you are on the course, and if you depart 
through sloth, prefeiring the way which a depraved heart 
prescribes — if, to drop the figure, you lead an unchristian 
life, you lose, not merely a happy immortality, but, by 
trampling on the remedy for human guilt and wretchedness, 
and despising and rejecting the crown of life, incur an ag- 
gravated condemnation. The Judge will award to you a 
resurrection, but it will be .to shame and everlasting con- 
tempt ! And if disgrace be unwelcome, even in presence of 
the mortal crowd which surrounds you here, how can it fail 
to be intolerable, when assembled worlds shall look on, and 
see you, who were once offered the crown, driven from the 
presence of God, and the abodes of the just, as unfit for the 
company which you despised. Can you meditate on such 
a fate, and not be appalled t Can you anticipate it for 
yourself, or your familiar friend, and your heart endure ? 
Yet the evidence that you shall depart accursed, from the 
presence of your Judge, bears exact proportion to the evi- 
dence, that you are not now heartily engaged in his service, 
or seeking, with all the heart, the kingdom of God. If then, 
worldly man ! much of your life is already lost — if little, at 
the longest, remain, and the christian race require much as- 
siduity and zeal ; and your holy activity is yet to be begun— 
if, even to this very moment, }^ou are hesitating whether to 
have the world, or God, for your portion, you need neither 
Angel nor Prophet, to assure you, that you are neither al- 
ready reasonably expecting, nor even in the way of obtain- 
ing, salvation. O ! look off from the paltry conflicts of an 
ambitious, sensual, and perishing world, and, like Jesus, for 
the^'o^ set before you, despise the shame attached to the 
cross : put earth, and heaven, and the prayers of the church, 
in requisition ; ai}d lay hold on eternal life. 



SERMON XI. 



T?HE christian pilgrim. 

Psalm xxxix. 12. 

Hold not thy peace at my tears, for I am a stranger with thee, 
and a sojourner, as all my Fathers were. 

Those who have been accustomed to attach the notion of 
glory to condition, and to consider royalty but another name 
for happiness, will think this strange language for a King ! 
Even those of us, who have not learned to feel, when sitting 
at our own fire-sides, and surrounded by our families, that 
we are not at home, may doubt, if this can be the habitual 
language of any man. And yet, the sentiment it expresses 
is equally just in its application, both to kings and common 
men. The language employed to express this sentiment, is 
a perfect picture of human life. He is the child of fatuity, 
and a stranger to himself and his condition, who has not 
learned to feel the incertitude, as well as vanity, of human 
expectations ; and to cry unto God, as a pilgrim in a strange 
country, who is ever journeying, and tarrying only for a 



150 



SERMON XI. 



night — as a sojourner, who has no sooner pitched his tent* 
and begun to think of rest, than he is summoned to strike it, 
and be gone. Even at the age of an hundred and thirty 
years, we find the Patriarch Jacob numbering the period of 
his life by days ; and comparing the pleasures ofhisway,to 
the toilsome stages of the weary traveller, which are few and 
evil. To the illusions of the world, then, and not to the dis- 
eased imagination of the people of God, are we to ascribe 
their widely different views of man, and the present state. It 
is a striking thought — God has so few friends in the world, 
that both He, and they who walk with him, are said to be 
strangers in it. "I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, 
as all the Patriarchs were." 

How striking the contrast ! The children of this world 
are strangers to God, and the covenant of promise ; while 
the children of the kingdom, are hidden ones, and strangers, 
in the world. Behold the distinction of the friends of God ! 
They are but pilgrims in their own account — they walk with 
God, as strangers in a strange country — They seek another, 
and a better, as their home. Delighting to exhibit truth by 
antithesis, and contrast, and no subject offering so great 
scope for such illustration, as that of the difference between 
the righteous and the wicked, we hear them exclaim — 
"while we are at home in the body we are absent from the 
Lord." " We walk by faith and not by sight." Thus the 
righteous plainly declare, that they have a house not made 
with hands. The friends of the world, on the contrary, 
here bury all their thoughts ; and bend their exalted powers 
to acquisitions, which have their origin and end in time. 
They know not, experimentally, the simplest truths incul- 
cated by the daily providence of God. Their inward 
thought is, that their houses shall continue forever ; and 
their dwelling places, and the lands called after their names, 
to all generations. Their posterity inherit their folly ; and 



SERMON XI. 



151 



the whole succession of their unbelieving progeny, walk in 
the obscurity of their example, and never see the light, till 
death begins to feed on them, and their beauty to consume 
in the grave, from their dwelling. They are foreigners, 
only in relation to the commonwealth of Israel ; while the 
friends of God, are strangers here, and seek the pillar of 
cloud and of fire, in which the Shechinah dwells, to guide 
them through the wilderness to the promised land. " They 
are not of the world." They pursue with avidity the trea- 
sures which cannot rust and corrupt ; which the hand of 
death cannot ravish, nor the lapse of time, or change of 
state, destroy. Transient visitors, is their description ; 
who, as sorrowful, are yet always rejoicing — who buy as 
though they possessed not ; and who use this world as not 
abusing it. Yes, the christian uses this world ; but, setting 
his affections on things above, avoids their idolatry who love 
it. He is a traveller, who visits necessarily the places on 
his way home, but without partaking in the enthusiasm of 
those who are settled there, or entangling himself in their 
avocations, and their contests, or ensnaring himself in their 
schemes of business, or of pleasure. He has only time to 
secure the necessary refreshment, before he must resume his 
journey. He makes no permanent interests there, and takes 
up no possessions, which may irresistibly plead for his re- 
turn from the advanced posts he has already gained. More 
than convinced, that this is not his rest, because it is pollu- 
ted, with a heaven-directed aim, his temper and his conduct 
say — I journey to the land of my nativity ; and till I put off 
these travelling habiliments, my marred and tattered aspect 
tells me, I have not yet attained, and urge me onward to my 
Fathers house. Thus do our sacred guides teach us to as- 
certain our character, relations, and destiny, as spiritual be- 
ings, by an inspection of the conduct of the home-bound 



152 



SERMON XI. 



traveller, who wandered, almost in infancy, from the em- 
braces of a parent into a foreign land. 

Let us suppose him, in the first place — however long he 
has lived abroad, however dear has become the place of his 
early life, and close his alliances — resolving to return to the 
distant country of his birth, and now commencing his jour- 
ney. How many conflicting passions, and interests, must 
agitate his bosom ! What emotions must accompany the 
thought of taking leave of the spot, the concerns, the com- 
panions of his early 3'ears, and all the objects fondly cher- 
ished, through his inconsideration of this removal ! But he 
has resolved : he has weighed the advantages of the change. 
Duty to the author of his life, and the interests covered by 
the paternal roof, have cast the die, and his purpose is fixed. 
" I will arise and go to my father." He has tasted the bit- 
terness of sin, felt the pang of separation from his God, and 
the insufficiency of all things, to supply the place of his ap- 
probation. He has heard of the land, none of whose inhab- 
itants say I am sick ; and of the river of the water of life, 
proceeding from the throne of God. He has been shown 
the promise of the proprietor, that the inheritance is for the 
returning prodigal, through the intercession of the obedient 
Son ; and is sure to all who seek it " by patient continuance 
in well doing." Men who are journeying to the place, of 
which the Lord has spoken, encourage him. He has sur- 
veyed, impartially, the fruits of obedience and sin : the gifts 
of this world and the next are compared ; and the choice, 
between the portions, is made. He has made trial of his. 
willingness to relinquish all his early prepossessions and 
habits, for the kingdom of God. After many violent strug- 
gles, he has thrown himself into the scale against selfishness 
and the world, resolved to strip himself of every incum- 
brance, and, in the path of life, set his face towards Zion. 
Governed by the maxim, that no wise man begins a work 



SERMON XI. 



153 



fill he has counted the cost, he has not commenced his jour- 
ney without ascertaining, both the character of the celestial 
Country, and the way to it. The difficulties of that way 
have also been considered, and the prospect of ample 
strength to surmount them, and more than ample compensa- 
tion for his labours in the end. Thus far the analogy is 
perfect. For does not even he, who removes only from one 
part of the same continent to another, first inform himself of 
the character of the people, the quality of the soil, the tem- 
perature of the climate, the facilities of the country, that the 
end of his removal may be secured ? Will he resolve to 
proceed, without knowing the sacrifices he may be called to 
make ; and whether his resources may be depended on, as 
adequate to his needs ? Does he rationally hope to succeed 
in his project, without adapting means to ends ; and con- 
forming to the rules, necessary to render safe and sure the 
hope of accomplishing the end ? Does a man think of trav- 
elling in state, in a way which admits only of the attire and 
staff of a pilgrim !■ Will he make no provision to secure 
himself against defeat? Then must he abandon the enter- 
prize, or perish by the way. Thus you see, every thing de- 
pends upon setting out right, if we are going to heaven. 
Faith in God, and the security of Ms aid, is the first step. 
Without this, the traveller towards Zion will assuredly faint, 
and all his labour will be lost, and his expectations be cut 
off. There be many, who shall seek to enter in, but shall 
not be able. Think not that you can dispense with those 
thorough investigations of sacred truth, w T hich correspond 
only with the zeal and sincerity of the man, who is about to 
remove to another continent. Think not, that a depraved 
creature may easily and carelessly make up his mind, to be 
a follower of Christ, to renounce his sins, and the world, for 
heaven. No ! Acquaint thyself with God. Understand 
20 



154 



SERMON XL 



the nature of the christian salvation. Know what heaven is f 
what is duty, and that nothing but the performance of duty, 
m humble dependence on Christ, can bring us to its enjoy- 
ment. Secure an infallible guide, to the good old way of 
the Patriarchs and Apostles. Possess yourself of their un- 
conquerable spirit of devotedness to one object— God and his 
kingdom. Rely not on information, acquired by the way- 
side : seek it of him who cannot lie — whose word is faithful 
— not one promise, or testimony of which, shall fail. Re- 
collect the end of them, who have depended on an arm of 
flesh, and been the sport of men, whose tender mercies are 
cruelty. The man who is to pass through the dominions of 
Princes of different character, and interests ; and through 
deserts, where rapacious animals of different devices reign, 
must know from unquestionable sources, the laws, customs, 
exactions, and dangers of the country ; and possess a char- 
acter, and an armour, which shall secure his person from 
ruin, and defeat the devices of the crafty, as well as over- 
come the powerful, and those who lie in wait to devour. 
Then, if he go forward with humility, and trembling, it is 
also with the fairest prospect of reaching the place of his des- 
tination. He goes, guarded against surprize — every thing 
subordinated to the main design, he has no backward track 
to pursue — and, with the whole armor of God, he is pre- 
pared for untried dangers and conflicts. He is not soon dis- 
couraged, because of the way. Trial worketh patience, and 
victory inflames his resolution. The falls of the unwatchful 
hour, quicken his vigilance ; and every snare, detention, and 
injury, excite his circumspection, and a more faithful obser- 
vance of his instructions. So, the literal traveller, turns off 
his eyes from the vanities which tempt his delay ; and in- 
stead of loitering, or resting, while it is day, to crop the way- 
side flowers, or gather the fruits which are not his own* 
moves forward, turning neither to the right hand nor to the 



SERMON XI. 



155 



left ; remembering that the same zeal is necessary at the 
dose, as at the beginning of the way. 

Is the traveller to Zion tempted to indulge in unnecessary 
refreshment, and to languish in the race ? His guide cries 
aloud — «" Let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering 
into his rest, we should seem to fall short of it." — u If any 
man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." 
What avails it to begin well, if we are afterwards willing to 
be hindered ? Pure and undefiled religion, not only at first 
renounces, but keeps unspotted from, the world. We may 
feel perplexed, but not forsaken ; and harrassed, but we may 
not despair. Faint but persevering, is the pilgrim's song, 
till the last enemy is overtaken, the last obstacle surmount- 
ed, and the last river passed. So the christian finds an an- 
tidote to the voice of curiosity and sympathy, of flattery 
and despondency, by keeping his Father's house in view. 
The caresses of the indolent, would turn him aside from the 
path ; and the plausible story of the carnal interpreter, 
check the vigor of pursuit; but he meets them with reproof, 
and tells them, as he passes, of resting when he gets home. 
He has pity and help for his weary fellow-traveller, but he 
cannot wait the movement of the slothful, nor vacillate with 
the unstable, nor uphold those who dally with temptation, 
and listen to evil men and seducers. Though he faints for 
them as he passes by, he dare not imitate, lest he fall after 
the same example of unbelief. He hears the christian vir- 
tues reproached, from time to time, even by those who think 
themselves travelling in the same way ; but recurring to his 
directory, he learns a lesson of perseverance from his mis- 
taken friends. What are their opinions and doings to the 
precept — "follow thou me." 

But man has a social nature ; and, whether good or bad — 
whether in the way to heaven or hell — he is not fond of 
travelling alone. The christian pilgrim labors to promote 



156 



SERMON XI. 



in others, a spirit of emigration to the heavenly land. His 
choice is not dependant on the will of a capricious world, 
nor his success with others, the condition of proceeding him- 
self. While independently resolved, and cautious of so re- 
garding others, as to neglect his duties to himself, it is still 
his heart's desire, and prayer to God, and, of consequence^ 
his labor, to persuade a numerous company to go with him. 
It is a darling object, to multiply associates in the enter- 
prize. He feels, in them, the dangers and the deaths he has 
escaped; and generously says — "now toe live, when you'* 
resolve, and " stand fast in the Lord." By cheerful toil, 
expostulation and example, as well as prayer, he strives to 
engage those by the way-side, to put in their lot with him ; 
and take freely, all the advantage of his experience, on the 
subjects of this, and the better country— of 'the God of this 
world, and the God who is above. He recommends the 
country and the way, the business and the blessedness, of 
the inhabitants; and endeavors to prove that godliness, with 
little of this world, is gain ; and is careful to exemplify the 
truth he inculcates, by the better character and the better 
hopes, the higher aims, and the more adequate consolations 
it has wrought in him, over the children of this world. Suc- 
cessful or not, he has the peaceful reflection, that their loss 
who despise, is not to be charged on his negligence ; and this 
is a better source of peace than the world can offer, in the 
extremest latitude of its lying promises. O ! to walk in 
wisdom toward them who are without — to be no occasion of 
their stumbling, is in simplicity and godly sincerity, and 
by the grace of God, to have our conversation among the 
world. J Tis then, sinners fall not on the rock, but the power 
of Christianity falls on them 5 and they have no cloak for 
their rejection of its Author, and resistance of the influence 
of his religion. 
Like every other peaceable traveller, the christian pilgrim 



SERMON XI. 



157 



is careful of falling out with his brethren by the way. The 
fruits of righteousness are sown in peace : they are nurtured, 
and matured under the same influence. No love of discord 
invades the bosom of Christ's disciples. Their hearts, and 
hopes, and pursuits, are united, and cannot be interrupted 
without violence to a holy nature, and a common head and 
guide. Peaceable, pure, gentle, and not easily provoked or 
alienated, are the friends of God. Contentions and strife, 
come not from above. Where the grand object keeps its 
ascendancy, the minor currents are absorbed, and all roll on 
together to the ocean of love. If any choose the unmarked 
road, he can only refer them to the common guide, and pursue 
his way, though it be in the fear he shall see their face no more. 
The soothing voice of affection, and not the roaring of the 
lion, is the well known voice of Israel's Shepherd. Peace 
and holiness united, constitute the favorite breath of this 
Shepherd's pipe. False is the friendship which allures us 
by any other sound. " Blessed is the peace-maker," with- 
out unhallowed passions, and sinister designs. 

Finally, progress is the traveller's grand attainment. If 
home is the object, advancement must be the effect. Who 
regards the clouds and the winds, when solicitous for home? 
Or, if arrested in his journey, and subjected to the loss of a 
day, see how such an one prevents the morning dawn, and 
evening shade, and encroaches on the hour of repose, till he 
have redeemed the time. His diligence and activity increas- 
ing, as the object approaches its accomplishment ; and when 
he comes near the spot where he is to spend all his existence, 
see how he forgets his toils, and gives a loose to rapturous 
joy. Must not the child of God then, on every glimpse of 
his Father's residence, spring forward with accelerated move- 
ment, in grace and knowledge, till he enter into the joy of 
his Lord ! To pass to the transforming sight of his Redeem- 
er, from amid the changes, and conflicts, of this state of 



158 



SERMON XL 



poverty, and sin, and darkness— this, this is life and immor- 
tality possessed. And shall not he who has it in reversion, 
be supposed to reach after it eagerly ; and press to the mea- 
sure of the stature of the fulness of Christ ? Yes, this must 
be the purpose of the heart — this, the prize of the high call- 
ing of God. 

Having concluded the illustration of the christian charac- 
ter, under the figure of a pilgrim in a strange country, re- 
turning to his resting place, and his home — 

I. Let us ask ourselves, hearers ! if the image be a just 
one ? Is it true, that our present state is unfixed, unsettled — 
that we have in our wishes no continuing city here, nor 
abiding place ? Is every thing precarious and transient but 
truth ; and does the word of God live and abide forever, as 
the only vehicle of truth to the children of men ? If it be 
thus — and who will venture his honor, and his honesty, on 
the denial of it — then who but the real, in opposition to the 
nominal disciple of Christ, as well as to the men of mere 
business, and the votaries of this world's God, have any 
claim to wisdom, virtue, or expectation of enjoyment? Who 
but the man who is a stranger -to the affections, the desires, 
and the chief objects which form the main spring of all the 
movements of this great world, discovers any regard to 
truth ? Who besides, possesses a character, corresponding, 
in any of its moral features, with his relations to God, with 
his present condition, or with his future prospects ? Not one- 
The inspired description, is perfectly conformed to our own 
observation — " They are all gone out of the way : there is 
none that doeth good ; there is none that enquireth after 
God." " Man that is in honor and understandeth not, is 
like the beasts that perish." He lives, as if incapable of 
knowing that he is to die ; and dies, as if death were an 
everlasting sleep. He perverts the gift of God, as if happi- 
ness were only to be found at the greatest distance from its 



SERMON XL 



159 



source. Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of hirn; 
and the son of man, that thou visitest him ! 

2. If there are men in the world, who are not of the 
world, but exhibit, in the midst of it, the character of stran- 
gers and sojourners merely ; and who therefore essentially 
differ from others, as Christ differed, by having their hearts, 
their treasures, and their conversation, in heaven ; is it not 
obvious, as one distinct class of christians have always con- 
tended, that the influence by which they are made to differ,, 
is wholly, and purely divine, and altogether of grace ? Is it 
possible, that any birth of blood, or of the will of the flesh, 
or of the will of man, or of any other than of God, should 
be adequate to an effect so peculiar, so holy, so consistent 
with the hope of a happy destiny ? Let the man who denies 
this doctrine of divine influence — Philosopher or Peasant — - 
either seek that influence himself, as essential to his happi- 
ness, and "become a fool that he may be wise," or bring us 
an example, from some former or the existing age, of one 
who lives and acts like a stranger on the earth, and yet as- 
cribes it to some cause other than the holy spirit of God. 
Whither will he go, to bring us such an example ? From 
what temple of the living, from what record of the dead, will 
he be able to shew, that any others, than those who believe in 
divine influence, have been persuaded practically to confesSj 
that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth ? And 
who, unmindful of the country of their nativity, once having 
believed, have refused to return; but plainly declared, by 
actions which do not deceive, that they desired a better 
country than this, even an heavenly ? Let them bring us a 
man who plainly says such things, by the course of his affec- 
tions, the object of his zeal, and sacrifices, and labours, and 
hopes, or we dare not say of him, as of the evangelical be- 
liever, God is not ashamed to be called his God. Ah, hear- 
er ! men who walk by sight corporeal or mental, and not by 



160 



SERMON XT. 



faith, say no such thing ; and they whose pilgrimage is from 
city to city, only to buy and sell and get gain, have chosen 
their portion in this life. And they too, who, sick of this 
vale of tears before they have taken hold on the promise that. 
God has prepared for them a city ; and who would madly 
rush out of the world, or out of life, to escape its trials, plain- 
ly declare their ignorance of christian holiness, which is sat- 
isfied to wait patiently in well doing, for their felicity. 

3. We perceive, from this subject, that faith has been, 
in all ages of the world, the only efficacious means of salva- 
tion. As it is written, " the just by faith shall live." Now 
faith is the substance, or cordial confidence, of all that God's 
word teaches us to hope for ; and the inward witness of the 
invisible things which that word reveals. One set of men 
boast of reason, as adequate to all the purposes of holy liv- 
ing : but reason without faith to govern it, never carried 
one soul to heaven. Others talk of the sufficiency of con- 
science : but conscience without faith, leads others, as it did 
Saul, to persecute Christ and his disciples, as the offscour- 
ing of the world. Others still, add to reason and conscience, 
the necessity of witnessing good examples, and consider this 
threefold cord, as a sure restraint against sin ; and a suffi- 
cient excitement to holiness. Yet even the addition of a 
good example, cannot prove influential over the bad, be- 
cause this best suits the taste of a bad heart. 

Faith must remain the only efficacious principle of a con- 
duct pleasing to God, which has ever actuated man since 
the apostacy. This only prompts the decision — that what 
God has said, is true. God has commanded, therefore it is 
good: God has threatened, it will therefore come to pass : 
God has ordered the event, therefore it is right : God has 
promised, therefore do I trust : God governs, therefore I sub- 
mit : these are his precepts, therefore I obey. Now, thus 
to obey, hope, submit, and trust, is the sum of all our duty. 



SERMON XI. 



161. 



All duty, then, is the effect of faith — of nothing else : for, if 
any other cause could produce these effects, the Apostle 
would not have said, " without faith, it is impossible to 
please God/' For obedience pleases him ; submission 
pleases him : hope in the Lord, pleases him; and trust in 
his perfections and providence. These, therefore, are all 
the fruits of faith. 

The oldest, and the earliest friend of God, became so 
through faith. Abel thus offered a more acceptable sacri- 
fice than Cain ; God testifying of his works, that they were 
righteous. Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob, all died in 
faith, and were moved by it to obedience ; expecting the 
performance of his promises, though they never lived to see 
them accomplished. They were persuaded that they would 
be performed ; and, though seeing the performance afar off, 
they gave up the world, for an interest in them ; and thus 
plainly declared themselves, strangers and pilgrims on the 
earth. They said this, not in words only, but by their con- 
duct. Abraham, for example, said to the sons of Heth, sell 
me a burying place ; 1 do not ask a settlement among you ; 
I am but a stranger and a sojourner with you. But if he 
had considered this world as his home, and acted like an 
unbeliever, instead of wandering about, at God's command, 
in Mesopotamia, he would have gone back to the place of 
his fathers' sepulchres, and his carnal relations. But by 
leaving them, and by his conduct where he was, he proved 
that he had confluence in God, and that he sought a better 
country than that he had left — than that in which he was 
then dwelling under the tent. 

4. In the last place, let him who claims the christian 
hope, exhibit ever to the imitation of those around him, who 
live upon the failures of professed christians — let him faith- 
fully exhibit this distinctive character of iend of God, 
and say to the world, as well as the God in whom he boast? — 
21 



162 



SERMON XL 



Mark well the meaning of my tears ; "for I am a stranger 
with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were." Dear- 
ly beloved ! I beseech you, abstain from sinful indulgences, 
from the very appearance of evil. Let your light so shine 
before men, that they may glorify your Father who is in 
heaven. Then, the world shall see, and acknowledge, the 
power and grace of God ; and renounce, perhaps, their sin- 
ful affections, pursuits and hopes ; and their interests no 
longer seem to clash with your designs, and joys, and labors. 
The pursuits of the worldling are but shadows. If he suc- 
ceeds to catch them, he has gained but an infant's toy ; and 
if he fail, even of this, he has exchanged his soul, for 
nothing ! 



SERMON XII. 



THE ONLY PROPER OBJECT OF SOLICITUDE 

Philippians iv. 5, 6, 7> 

Be careful for nothing : but in every thing, by prayer and sup- 
plication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known 
unto God; and the peace of God, which passeth all under- 
standing, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ 
Jesus. 

DISTRUST of God, lies at the foundation of all human 
sorrow. The world is full of crimination and reproach. 
Wherever you go, you hear the voice of complaint. No 
community is free from it, whether it be the smallest — such 
as the family circle ; the largest — such as the nation ; or the 
intermediate clusters of men, in towns, villages, and states. 
Whoever, therefore, should have the happiness, by his wis- 
dom and benevolence, to devise a perfect remedy for the evil, 
would be justly pronounced the greatest benefactor of man- 
kind. Such a benefactor, I present you, in him who said, 
through a querulous woman in the village of Bethany, to 
all her sex, and to all the species, " thou art careful and 



164 



SERMON XII. 



troubled about many things ; but one thing is needful." 
The remedy is also before you — Be careful for nothing ; but 
commit yourself, and your way, unto the Lord ; and peace, 
sweet peace, such as the world giveth not, shall take posses- 
sion of your soul. Adopt his principles, and follow his ex- 
ample, and your happiness is secured beyond the possibility 
of invasion. Man is a sinner ; and his sins make him 
wretched. But " the Lord is good to all, and his tender mer- 
cies are over all his works." The proof of this, however, is 
found only in following his directions : for it would be pre- 
posterous to suppose, that an unknown fountain, is to be ap- 
proached and tasted, by any other means than keeping in, 
the path which leads to it. The way to happiness, there- 
fore, and to God, is in keeping his commandments. Follow 
the Lord full}", in his directions, and you will certainly find 
peace. If God is good, his laws are good ; and that is a 
perverse mind, which complains of unbappiness, while re- 
fusing to take the road which leads to it. The ways of 
wisdom, and these only, are ways of pleasantness, and all 
her paths, and only her's, are paths of peace. Deny your 
ungodliness, and worldly lusts, and you shall find no cause 
of complaint — no gnawing worm at the root of your 
gourds, and your vines. Let the spirit of the world be sup- 
planted, by adopting the spirit of this precept, and then, 
though prosperity or adversity, life or death, be yours, you 
shall be found rejoicing in the Lord, and joying in the God 
of your salvation. And until you arrive at this point of 
moral elevation, any external condition which has been 
reached in earth or heaven, would leave you comfortless ; 
and a descent would remain to you, like that of Satan from 
the abodes of bliss. And this for the very obvious reason, 
that pleasure and pain do not result from any state of mat- 
ter, but from the state of the mind. Wandering of desire, 
would make an angel wretched ; and fixedness of the heart 



SERMON XII. 



165 



on proper objects, has made a thousand martyrs superior to 
torture. This, then, is the sentiment to be illustrated ; and 
I beg you to take fast hold of it, and never let it go : to 
keep itj that it may be your life. This is the sentiment of 
Jesus Christ — That any solicitude of man, which excludes a 
sense of dependance upon God ; which implies a want of 
submission to God ; which involves the supposition that we 
are wiser than God ; or which implies distrust of the good- 
ness of God ; is self-tormenting, and must bereave the soul 
of settled tranquillity and peace. 

1. First, that solicitude, which excludes a sense of de- 
pendence upon God, makes a man his own tormentor. Con- 
cerning all things which relate to the present life, whether 
food or raiment, houses or friends, a good name, or health 
and freedom, our duty is plain and well defined, and consists 
in a diligent and faithful use of such means as God has put 
into our possession. Beyond this, all is without our reach, 
and beyond our control ; and all solicitude and anxiety, 
other than that of doing our duty, is sure to harrass and dis- 
tress the mind. Why then should a man exercise, or trouble 
his thoughts, on the subject ? It will effect nothing, towards 
hastening or accomplishing his desire. He can add nothing 
to his stature, nor make one hair white or black. All his 
anxiety beyond this, is like that of the child crying for, the 
moon — it makes himself and others much disquietude, but 
has no tendency or influence, to bring the object of his so- 
licitude into possession. The law of gravitation, and all 
the other laws of nature, are forever settled in heaven ; and 
they will not cease their operation, nor deviate from their 
course. Why then, if man seeks enjoyment, should he take 
the very method which ensures his disquietude ? Why does 
he not do, what he knows to be his duty ; and in humble, 
and thankful dependance upon him who has reserved the 
event in his own power, feel content that the issue is of God ? 



166 



SERMON XII. 



The mother who watches over her diseased infant, or sends 
her darling boy upon the waves, to seek a subsistence for 
herself and him, may pass her nights in watchings, and her 
days in fastings and labors, and refuse to be comforted, till 
they are safely restored to her arms ; and in consequence of 
such determination, vex and distress her soul for months and 
years. But her solicitude comes too late. The only ques- 
tion which should have excited it, was a question of duty ; 
and when this was settled, by the rules of God's word, and 
done accordingly, nothing more belonged to her, but all the 
rest to God ; and what she had no control over, should nev- 
er have been a subject of anxiety at all. But she will tell 
me, I was a parent, and how could I help it ? But, my 
friend, God is a parent too ; and when you have obeyed 
him, and committed your way unto the Lord, you must not 
plead your parental feelings towards your children, for act- 
ing as if your heavenly Father was dependent upon you, or 
you independent of him. — And if you cannot help torment- 
ing yourself by your sins, neither can you expect God will 
work a miracle to preserve you from their unavoidable fruits. 
Are not the feelings of God as worthy to be trusted, and as 
likely to be proper, towards you and your family, as your 
own; and had you trusted in him, would you have been 
confounded, or excessively grieved? 

Here is a man brought home, covered with the marks of 
poverty and disease — inconsolable for the loss of his pat- 
rimony ; and subject to all the miseries of a gloomy and 
desponding mind, because he has not succeeded in his enter- 
prize. He said, I will go into such a city for a year, and 
buy, and sell, and get gain ; and return with a competence 
to my family, and enjoy it with them many years. But did 
he set out, with a humble sense of his dependance upon 
God f Did he lay all his plans, under a consciousness of his 
imbecility and frailty ? Did he consult him, on whose plea- 



SERMON XII. 



167 



sure riches and strength are suspended f And had he follow- 
ed the rule of his merciful lawgiver, and sought all this, in 
subordination to the kingdom of God and nis righteousness ? 
Not so, for then he would have been prepared for the event ; 
and, instead of coming home disconsolate, would have said 
to his family — God, who is rich in mercy, has defeated my 
plans : he knows what is best for us : I committed my way, 
and the event, to him ; and I have no wish to take it back. 
Be not anxious about your life, nor mine. The Lord will 
provide. He sees it needful that we suffer this disappoint- 
ment, and that we have trouble in the flesh ; but it is for 
good. Let us wait the issue, and rejoice in his sufficiency. 
Which of the two, is the happiest state of mind ; and to 
which of the two, does carnal and forbidden anxiety about 
even a competence, necessarily conduct us ? 

My hearers I the man who leaves the Almighty out of 
sight, when he sows his seed, or waits for the rain ; and 
troubles himself about causes, over which his prayers, and 
diligence, and prudence, can exert no influence, necessarily 
subjects himself to vexation of heart ; and well may he thank 
God if his seed ever vegetate, or the corn mature, or the 
crop be gathered in, or he, after all, have power to eat there- 
of. The vexation is of his own making ; and all the good 
he enjoys of his labour, is the unmerited gift of God. 

What think you of the man, who breaks in, by his secular 
thoughts, upon the consecrated business of the sabbath — who 
mixes up the distinct concerns of this six days with those of 
the seventh, which is God's ; and who, forgetting his account 
with God, transfers his devotions from the closet and the 
sanctuary, to his counting house and his ledger — is he care- 
ful for nothing? Has he no unreasonable solicitude, and is 
not his dependence rather upon his own right hand, than 
upon God ? Does such a man wonder that he is not happy, 
in his present condition, or future prospects ? — Does he 



168 



SERMON XII, 



complain that wisdom's ways are unpleasant; oris it strange, 
that the word of God does not profit him ? The cares of this 
world, as the Master forewarned him, choke the word, and 
render it unfruitful. It is of no profit, and of no consola- 
tion ; and he is his own tormentor. And when at the last, 
remorse stings him like a serpent, he will look back upon 
his self wrought miseries, and say, how has my heart des- 
pised instruction, and hated reproof — therefore has all this 
evil come upon me. Thus, every kind and degree of soli- 
citude about worldly good, which excludes a due sense of 
dependance on God, is self tormenting, and drives peace 
now and forever from the breast. It renders a man's soul, 
like the turbid and restless sea, whose agitation produces 
mire and dirt. Would it not have been better to have hum- 
bly followed the direction in the text ? 

2. That solicitude, which implies a want of submission to 
God. produces the same effect. " 1 cannot have it so" — is 
often the decision of the mind, in cases where God has re- 
vealed his determination, that so it shall be : and the oppo- 
sition, or dissatisfaction, of the heart, is only kicking against 
the goad. I say nothing of the abominable impiety of such 
a mind : I am only showing the unavoidable wretchedness it 
produces. Here is a man, for example, who plans wisely as 
the world say, who makes all his arrangements judicious- 
ly, to accomplish his plans, and who is defeated in every 
thing he proposes, or disappointed in ail he undertakes. 
His earthly possessions waste away, his family descend from 
their accustomed rank in life, to comparative servility : now 
whatever the means are — whether the hand of men, or the 
more direct hand of God — God has ordered it, and so it must 
be. But he cannot have it so : his thoughts trouble him : 
his mind preys upon itself : every thing which reminds him 
of his former prosperity is a vexation, and his whole soul is 
continually discomposed. Now let us suppose him to say — 



SERMON XII. 



169 



the thing is of the Lord, without whom a sparrow falls not 
to the ground — His will is done — He gave, and he has taken 
away ; and blessed be his name. Suppose further, that he 
should feel as he says, and all he says — what then, disturbs 
his peace . ? If he have no imprudence, or wickedness, of his 
own, in getting, to reflect upon, what loss has he suffered ? 
Nay, what good has he not gained — since we know God 
makes all things work together for good to them who love 
him t 

Or take, on the contrary, the man who lives all his days, 
in opposition to the known will of God — only for himself, and 
his present enjoyment : he has all that heart can wish, but he 
cannot bear to think that he must die, and give an account 
of himself to God. He has no idea, of being forever shut 
up in a state of despair, and excluded from the happiness of 
heaven, because he has been alienated from the life of God. 
This doctrine, of consequence, whether he affect to believe 
it or not, is an occasional cause of disquietude ; and with all 
his show of ease, and pleasure, and hilarity, he is a wretched 
man ; his sick and dying bed discloses the fact, to those who 
had never known it before, and who perhaps, had envied 
him his happiness. It is impossible he should be willing it 
should be thus, because, as the Apostle said, " no man hateth 
his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it." His very 
solicitude, then, however moderate it may seem in regard to 
worldly enjoyment, is excessive, so long as he prefers it to a 
life of piety ; because, in some essential particulars, it is in- 
subordinate to the purpose which shall stand, and to the 
pleasure, which, in defiance of his wishes, will be done. 

In like manner every man, who through the love of this 
present evil world, or its dearest objects, or the love of him- 
self, cannot submit himself to the doctrines and the provi- 
dence of God, renders himself wretched ; because there is 
opposition and collision ; and as these cannot act upon the 
22 



170 



SERMON XII. 



Almighty, to discourage him from pursuing his course, they 
cannot fail to grind, even the heart of stone, which frets 
itself against the Lord. How excessively careful, then, are 
men, to render themselves miserable, both here and hereaf- 
ter, simply for want of a cordial submission to the purposes, 
and counsels, and providence of Him with whom we have 
to do! 

3. In the third place, that solicitude, which involves the 
supposition that we are wiser than God, fails not, sooner or 
later, to produce a wretched state of mind. It is an old 
story, and one derived from the observation of men of all 
ages, that almost no man is contented with his own condi- 
tion. He never has enough, or what he has, is not of the 
right kind, or given in the right time, or communicated in 
the right way, or does not effect the object for which it was 
sought. I need not offer examples, or illustrations of this 
truth. I speak only what every child of Adam knows ; and 
testify only what he has seen, and my testimony is from him- 
self. Now all this discontent, and dissatisfaction, productive 
of much injury to society, as well as a painful void, or an 
overwhelming discomfiture to one's-self, involves the suppo- 
sition, that, wise as we may admit the great disposer of 
events to be, he manages our concerns, less wisely than we 
should do for ourselves, had we only, like him, to speak our 
will, and have it done. No man can doubt that God gov- 
erns the world ; that both good and evil come of him ; and 
that every man's external condition is allotted him of the 
Most High ; and, that being of more value than many spar- 
rows, God pays a proportionate regard to his destination, 
and every thing which concerns him in this life. That what 
he gives, we gather ; what he withholds, we look for in vain 
from any quarter : and therefore, that nothing is to be ex- 
pected from second causes. Why, then, do we not regulate 
our desires by his rule, and satisfy ourselves with his dispo- 



SERMON XII. 



Ill 



sa l ? — Why attempt to rob, or over-reach God ?-— To make 
that material object yield us a good which God has not put 
in its power ; or look for an effect, from this or that condi- 
tion, which he has told us, it is not fitted nor designed to 
produce ? There can no reason be given for it, but either, 
that we do not regard the counsel, or hand, of God in his 
operations, and so do not understand his loving-kindness ; 
or, that we think our judgment, at least in our own concerns, 
better than his. Indeed if we do not always go to his coun- 
sel to make up our judgment, it can be owing only to our 
self-sufficiency. Is it not manifest, then, since "the foolish- 
ness of God is wiser than men," that any solicitude to carve 
for ourselves, and, above all, that contumacious and obsti- 
nate spirit which decides, that it should be according to our 
minds, is excessive, and productive of mental commotion ? 
Surely, the man who thinks himself wiser than God, must 
be always a prey to disappointment and humiliation : be- 
cause, in spite of his opinion, the wisdom of God will tri- 
umph. Condescending as he is, Jehovah will never yield 
this point, either in regard to the propriety of his laws, or 
the fitness of his providence. In the mode of bringing up 
our children, in the duty of secret, family and public pray- 
er, as well as in the regulation of all the concerns of this 
life, God has given us the dictates of his wisdom. If we 
think ourselves possessed of too much understanding to fol- 
low his prescriptions, we shall of course adopt methods of 
our own devising ; and if, in consequence of so doing, we 
have an unruly house, or cursed children, and reproach for 
our negligence, and stings of conscience, and ten thousand 
other kindred fruits of supposing ourselves wiser than God. 
we have only to thank our superior wisdom, for its legiti- 
mate fruits ; and learn, by our wretchedness — what we would 
not be taught by his precepts — that God's wisdom is better 
than our strength — and that all solicitude, other than that, 



SERMON XII. 



the object of which is to please him, has yielded nothing 
better than vanity and vexation of spirit. The sighs, and 
groans, and self-reproaches which you ever hear ; and which 
burst forth from your own bosom, when in solitude, are all 
to be traced to this anxiety about concerns that belonged to 
God, and not to man. He who has the testimony, that his 
only anxiety has been to please God, has a soul as unruffled 
as the bosom of the lake, and one which as brightly reflects 
the grandeur and beauty of the heavens. The wisdom of 
God is in him. And for want of some testimony like this, 
you see the wise of this world, with a bosom heaving like 
the troubled ocean — boisterous and foaming — wave rises 
above wave, urging on one another, till they are split and 
swallowed up by some overwhelming billow in pursuit. 

Now, in all these things, said the wisdom of God, I 
would have had you without carefulness, save only, that 
ye might please the Lord ; and content with the condition 
he allotted you ; "for we brought nothing into this world, 
and it is certain we can carry nothing out." Why set the 
heart upon that which is not r The world like a pageant 
passeth away. 

4. Finally, all that solicitude in man, which implies dis- 
trust of the goodness of God, is also self-tormenting ; and 
bereaves the soul of settled tranquillity and peace. No in- 
considerable portion of our wicked world, are influenced in 
their opinions, and feelings, and conduct, by the maxims and 
views of the world, rather than of God. The irreligion of 
thousands has its proximate cause in this influence. They 
are ashamed of their duty to God, or of being detected in it, 
because of what men will say of them. They are more sus- 
ceptible to ridicule, than to truth : and with less difficulty 
mount over the law and authority of Jehovah, than the 
opinion, and patronage, and respect of men. O ! how many 
a youths has, on this account, taken the first step in trans- 



SERMON XII. 



173 



gression of one or other of the commandments of God, 
which has broke his way to hardihood in sin ! How many 
a man in mature life, and even in old age, has been reluctant 
to obey God, and leave the companions of his vices, lest he 
should incur their odium, and the name of an enthusiast ! 
Now this solicitude to please men, or to avoid suspicion and 
reproach, implies an impious distrust of God - r and so does 
all anxiety, about what men will think of us, when put in 
competition with our obligations to the fear of God, and to 
the pursuit of that honor which cometh from him only. But 
is not every such pusillanimous and base spirit, treasuring 
up scorpion stings, for its retired and solitary hours ; and 
remorse intolerable, for the day when God shall visit him in 
anger ? Yes, even before that day, this excessive careful- 
ness to please one's-self and the world, rather than to do the 
will of God, brings with it a miserable state of mind. It 
makes a man afraid, or ashamed, to look at himself in the 
light of an accountable being ; it prevents him from con- 
versing with wise men, and, of course, from becoming wise ; 
and, above all, it renders him contemptible in the eyes of 
the very men, whose sarcasms, and reproaches, he is so 
anxious to avoid. They know, he knows, and all men, in 
their right mind, know, that religion is the one thing need- 
ful — They know that it is the height of wisdom, for a man 
to be ready to meet his God : and equally well, that some 
preparation is necessary for this end ; and that among these 
preparatory steps, the first is, that of leaving the company 
of the scorner, the scoffer, the ungodly, and forsaking the 
way, and the companionship, of evil men. Evil company 
is laid down in our chart, as one of the dangerous shoals to 
be avoided. They have heard it said, in all the tenderness 
of God's paternal love, "My son, if sinners entice thee, con- 
sent thou not." They have heard from the high authority 
of Jehovah's word, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do 



174 



SERMON Xir. 



evil;" and, over all, "cease to hear the instructions which 
cause thee to err." But they have no confidence in the 
goodness of him, who thus warns and counsels them. They 
question the benevolent intentions of God, in this thing. 
They have too much solicitude for their honor, to believe 
that God will take care of that, as well as of every thing 
else, however dear, which we commit to his keeping. In- 
deed, they have no belief, that a strict regard to all God's 
commands, is necessary to make them honorable and happy. 
They expect to attain these good things, in defiance of their 
contrariety of affection, and practice, to his precepts ; and, 
therefore, hate not every false way. Thus their life is cor- 
rupted, and their heart estranged from God. The con- 
science is robbed of its power to testify in their behalf ; and 
all the sources of permanent comfort, are turned into springs 
of bitterness and grief. Is this an imitation of those holy 
men, inheriting the promises, who rejoiced always in the 
Lord — who were ready, not to be bound only, but to die,. 
for the name of the Lord Jesus— and who, having sold their 
possessions, or abandoned them at his call, counted all things 
loss, that they might win Christ ; and themselves infinite 
gainers by the exchange ? No, hearer ! it is imitating that 
murderer, who sold his Lord, and his soul, for the pelf and 
pleasure of men, as wicked, and miserable, as himself. Be- 
hold his way, and as you dread his end, walk not in it — pass 
not by it — turn from it, and pass away. Instead of binding 
our hearts more closely to the world, we ought to be every 
day, letting go our hold upon it, and all. that is in it. In- 
stead of keeping the soul, moored in this polluted and infec- 
tious haven, we should have long ago embarked, and been 
far on towards the heavenly shore — our rest — our everlast- 
ing home. 

But I must say, brethren, and friends ! if I have described 
any of your characters in this discourse, your repentance is 



SERMON XII. 



175 



yet to be begun : your hearts are over-charged with the af- 
fairs of this life, and the day of the Lord may come on you 
unawares. All your solicitude, is the offspring of doubt 
and distrust, and not of faith. It proceeds from the spirit 
of the world, and not from that which is of God. And now 
let me ask, have you not been the destroyers of your own 
happiness ? Has not God said truly of you, as of other 
men, M thou hast destroyed thyself?" You have been care- 
ful and troubled, about many things which are but for a 
moment ; but for eternity, O ! for eternity, and for God, 
what solicitude has marked a single year of your protracted 
life? But beloved! let me remind you, jyou cannot sow 
cockle, and reap wheat ; and if solicitude in the cares of this 
life, is really destructive of your happiness here, how infatu- 
ated the mind, which hopes to derive from it the peace of 
God forever. Why, then, continue to cry peace, when God 
says there is no peace ! 

But he is a fierce reprover, who tells us our miseries, and 
our sins, without pointing out a remedy, and a more excel- 
lent way to the happiness we need. Christ was not a teach- 
er of this austere character. He has made plain the way of 
our duty, and his language is in your ears — " Labor not for 
the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto 
everlasting life." But what shall we do then ? Labour to 
please God. Let this be your motive to diligence, in your 
worldly callings, to frugality, economy, and making provi- 
sion for your families. Then, every thing will be in place : 
you will be seeking first the kingdom of God and his right- 
eousness, as the object of all your solicitude 5 and your 
heavenly Father, who knoweth what you have need of, will 
add all necessary supplies. Your carefulness will never pro- 
duce these supplies — They are his gift after all. I beseech 
you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you be 
mot careful for them, as objects on which your desires and 



176 



SERMON XII. 



labors terminate ; but to present your bodies, and your spir- 
its, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is 
your reasonable service. Be not conformed to this world; 
but seek to please God, and all these things shall be added. 
They are just as sure to you in this way, as in any other ; 
and, what is of infinitely more consequence, your happiness, 
for time and for eternity, is also ensured without any sacri- 
fice, disproportioned to the hope set before you in the gos- 
pel. Hear then O earth, earth, earth, hear, trust, and obey, 
the word of the Lord — Be careful for nothing : but in every 
thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your 
requests be made known unto God ; and the peace of God, 
which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and 
minds through Christ Jesus. 



SERMON XIII, 



CHRISTIAN EXULTATION. 

Galatians, vi. 14. 

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto 
the world. 

1 will ascend into the heavens, I will rise above the 
clouds, I will exalt my throne above the stars, I will be like 
the Most High." A noble resolution, my brethren ! had it 
been made in the name of him, who sitteth on the circle of the 
heavens, and before whom all the inhabitants of earth are as 
grasshoppers. But intoxicated with the love of pleasure, 
and deluded with the popular opinion, that there is no hap- 
piness for man but in independence of God, this instinctive 
vaunting of the carnal mind becomes, at once, the proof of 
its impiety, and the harbinger of a fall. It is followed, of 
consequence, with the denunciation of him, who has deter- 
mined to be sanctified in all them that approach him, and. 
before all creatures to be glorified. It is of such a mind, 
swollen with the conceit of itself, as if there were none be- 
side, that God has said — "Though he climb up to heaven, I 
23 



178 SERMON XIII. 

will bring him down ; though he hide in the top of Carmet, 
my hand shall fetch him thence ; and I will set mine eye 
upon him for evil and not for good." Pride cast angels 
down from heaven, and drove man from the joyful presence 
of his Maker ; and every sinner, while he continues to in- 
dulge it, will find it an insurmountable barrier to his enjoy- 
ment of God. Through the influence of this vile passion, 
men have always stumbled at the very threshold of Christian- 
ity, and rejected the only means of life, because the way to 
exaltation is by the valley of humiliation. It is the constitu- 
tion of God, without cheerful submission to which, he will 
have no man to be saved, that no flesh shall glory in his 
presence. This truth is, by Jesus Christ, laid at the foun- 
dation of his system : this truth he lived and died to exhibit* 
in most striking prominence, for the conviction and profit of 
man. Jesus Christ humbled himself, before the Father ex- 
alted him ; and there is a connection between that humilia- 
tion and exaltation, which the world never understood — 
which even the disciples, attendant on his personal ministry, 
were slow to comprehend. To the one, therefore, his cross 
was foolishness and an obstruction ; to the other, for a time, 
an occasion of useless mortification. But on the develope- 
ment of the great mystery of godliness, and the removal of 
that vail which covers every self-sufficient, unsubdued heart, 
the disciples clearly perceived, that " it became him, for 
whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bring- 
ing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salva- 
tion perfect, through sufferings." They saw too, that the 
moral beauty, and greatness, of their lowly Master, had been 
obscured, only by the false medium through which they had 
been looking at his system ; and receiving the kingdom of 
God as little children, they saw his glory, and were changed 
into his image, glorying only in the cross. 

The language of the text is figurative ; and the figure, be- 



SERMON XIII. 



179 



ing derived from the crucifix — the most disgraceful, and the 
most distressing instrument of punishment — denotes self-im- 
molation, from the purest and noblest motives, and for the 
highest end. The incarnation, labors, and death of Christ, 
therefore, constituted his cross : taken up for no other end, 
than the glory of God in the salvation of sinners. In this 
extended view of it, the Apostle declares the cross of Christ 
to be the only ground of human exultation : and the truth 
of this declaration will appear from the following consider- 
ations : — It is the only exhibition of true greatness — It fur- 
nishes the only perfect model of virtue — It forms the only 
foundation of man's hope — It presents a harmonious and 
glowing image of all the perfections of the Deity. 

1. In the first place, the cross of Christ exhibits all the 
greatness of which our nature is capable. Amidst all the 
degradation, and debasement, of our species, something of a 
God-like nature has glimmered through the ruins. We see 
in man, the wreck of a once noble and beautiful fabric. His 
intellectual superiority, his social nature, his susceptibility to 
generous impressions, though he indulges a propensity to 
pervert and abuse them all, furnish an illustrious proof, that 
God made him upright, but little lower than the angels, and 
the very image of himself. There cannot be a doubt, that 
man was once justiy styled, the Lord of this lower world. 
But with all these indications of his former elevation, every 
age has seen, in the confusion of his mind, the warring of 
his passions, their collision with those of his fellow-men and 
with the will of heaven, a demonstration of a fall, such as 
leaves him nothing of his own in which to glory, unless he 
glory in his shame. While the inventive genius of one dis- 
tinguished mind, the prowess and enterprize of another, the 
acuteness and penetration of a third, the fortitude and elor 
quence, or generosity and heroism, of others, have given to 
a few, in every nation, the character of greatness ; it has re- 



180 



SERMON XIII. 



mained evident from the beginning, that no man has pos- 
sessed all these attributes, nor any one of them, at all times : 
So that, after the lapse of four thousand years, not a solitary 
Instance has been furnished, of a character exhibiting through 
life, all the qualities which constitute true greatness, accord* 
ing to man's own standard. And, to the humiliation of our 
race, we are compelled to add, that of those m'ral proper- 
ties, without which, the variety and lustre of man's natural 
endowments become the measure of his disgrace, all men 
have been empty. We are bound to regard this distinction : 
we must insist upon it : for as well might we apply the epi- 
thets of excellence and greatness to the mountain, as to the 
man, if these consist in embosoming vast ^nd splendid mate- 
rials, rather than in the wisdom and utility of their applica- 
tion. Until Christ appeared, therefore, the world was left 
to conjecture, rather than to witness, the dignity of which 
human nature is capable ; and to collect from the moral 
fragments strewed along the path from Eden to Nazareth, 
evidence of what, by a proper use of his powers, man was, 
and was destined to be. But behold the Son of God ! and 
tell us what is superfluous, what defective, in his character. 
There is a dignity in his childhood, which not only astonishes 
maternal fondness, but confounds inflated learning — A wis- 
dom, which disarms barbarity of its rudeness, and refinement 
of its cunning. The apology of the one is, " never man 
spake like this man" — The other's greatest sagacity, is 
evinced by silence. After the utmost reach of that sagacity, 
it is testified, it durst ask him no more questions. It was 
the glory of Jesus, that the moral qualities of his heart, gave 
an influence the most commanding, to all the attributes of 
his mind. Because that was unspotted, he was incapable of 
perverting the powers which made him great. His superi- 
ority to the world, gave him an ascendancy over it, and 
made him in reality, what many have affected to be, a person 



SERMON XIII. 



181 



of superior order. It was this moral rectitude, which gave 
equal worthlessness to the caresses and curses of the crowd, 
when they would have placed upon his head, first, the crown 
of Caesar, and next, the crown of thorns. It was this, which 
withstood the temptations of the devil in the wilderness, and 
supported the ignominy of the cross. But for this, he could 
not have met prejudice and opposition, without impatience 
and resentment; nor have borne every kind of indignity and 
sorrow, without repining and despondency. In the midst of 
the world, Jesus Christ stands alone — the single object de- 
serving unqualified, and unequivocal, admiration ; because, 
he is the only subject of uniform magnanimity. Subjected 
to all our infirmities, and to more than all our sufferings, his 
whole life is without a stain, and its last act, consummated 
its perfection. Outvying the only luminary at all like him, 
every part of his course was a meridian splendor, exceeded 
only by his setting rays. 

2. Look at the qualities which gave him this pre-emin- 
ence ; and see, in the second place, how the cross of Christ 
is the only ground of exultation, as it corrects man's notions 
of glory, and presents a model of true virtue. The schools 
of philosophy, the portraits of history, and even the writers 
of fiction, with all their latitude of conception, and license 
of imagination, exhibit no character on which the good man 
dwells with entire complacency. Most men have mistaken 
the very nature of virtue ; and even those, who, guided by 
a prophet's vision, have occasionally exhibited some just 
traits of her lovely character, have been miserably defective, 
in the degree, and constancy, of their excellence. All their 
defects, in notion and example, are corrected and supplied 
in the model Christ presents us. In this, under all the trials 
of man, we behold none of his weaknesses — In him y we dis- 
cover all man's native passions, without one of his vices — In 
him, we have a perfect standard, without the necessity of a 



182 



SERMON XIII. 



contrast to set off its beauty— In him, we have all that prop- 
erly belongs to man, yet nothing inferior to any order of be- 
ing ; because he is perfect in his sphere. Is true greatness 
best proved by adversity ? This criterion is applied to him 
through life ; and through life, cheerful submission to divine 
precept, and divine appointment, without insensibility, temer- 
ity, or despondency, invariably shines. Occasional acts of 
heroism, and wisdom, and generosity, have indeed marked 
the sage, the military chieftain, and the savage — acts for 
which, did virtue consist in outward appearances, and single 
expressions, they might be awarded immortality. But in 
Jesus Christ, we behold a constant succession of such acts : 
less splendid in their exterior, than in their motive. He is 
never surprised, never committed. In all changes, he is self- 
possessed— In all conflicts, even where he seems overcome, 
he triumphs. Illustrious for his moderation, when his enemy 
yields ; for his forgiveness, when malignity gains a tempo- 
rary gratification. Ever exalting, and ennobling human na- 
ture, by sacrificing his own, to the good of his neighbour. 
The very act of coming down to earth, under a full pre- 
science of his sufferings, and to become the victim of sin, 
himself without guile, exhibits a benevolence, such in extent 
and kind as human conception had never reached. Never, 
in the filling up of that plan of propitiation, did he betray a 
symptom of mind unworthy the grand design ; not a wish 
indicative of regret for the undertaking. In condescension, 
labor, self-denial, meekness, constancy, tenderness, fidelity, 
he exceeded the expectations which the seers had excited ; 
and the living character seemed to excel the prophetic pre- 
dictions. To finish the picture, recollect that those eyes, 
which as a flame of fire searched through all his motives, 
and with jealousy scanned every action, could discover no 
spot in him. He was justified in the spirit, and the Judge 
feoth of outward appearance and the heart, pronounced hint 



SERMON Xim 



183 



without fault. The consciousness of virtue so immaculate, 
gave him boldness before the throne of his Father, as well 
as of Pilate, in asserting that he had finished his work, and 
in claiming the glory due to a perfect legal righteousness. 

His death corresponded with his life. As he lived poor, 
only to make others rich ; so he died in disgrace, to exalt 
malefactors to glory. Such an end was adapted to such a 
beginning. Forsaken of his friends — mocked of his ene- 
mies — abandoned, for a moment, of his Father — his soul 
still intent on the single object of its being, breathed out its 
life in pity and in piety. His life is not forced from him, 
but voluntarily laid down. He bows his sacred head, and, 
as he dies, exclaims, " Father, forgive them, for they know 
not what they do" — Though I am unpitied, unprotected, 
forgive my murderers. Admirers of sublimity in action ! 
Eulogists of human virtue ! Heralds of the boasted deliv- 
erers of mankind ! — Go from this scene to the history of 
your legislators, your heroes, and your saints, and worship 
at their shrines : " but God forbid that I should glory, save 
in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" — This crucifies the 
world to me, and me unto the world. Which of its stand- 
ards of greatness can I boast, and not debase that nature 
which the cross adorned ? — Which of its models of right- 
eousness can I propose to my imitation, in consciousness of 
immortality, and with the hope of glory ? 

3. But, in the third place, we exult only in the cross of 
Christ, because it lays the only foundation of a sinner's ac- 
ceptance with God. " Other foundation can no man la}> 
than that is laid ; which is Jesus Christ." Pitiable for his 
ignorance of his obligations, and for the obliquity of his 
conscience, is the man, who imagines that God sent his Son 
into the world, merely to be admired — to give man an ex- 
ample of virtue, and new motives to practise it ; without 
providing a remedy for his guilt, or a fountain for the puri- 



184 



SERMON XIII. 



fication of his polluted heart. Man even innocent has no 
no claim on life : but guilty, and unholy^ he forfeits happi- 
ness. On this point, the Law and the Gospel speak one lan- 
guage. The cross of Christ, is divested of its chief glory, 
by the supposition of man's innocence, of his competence to 
relieve himself from guilt, or recover himself to virtue. To 
have died for the righteous, was unnecessary. The law was 
not made for them. To have died merely as a martyr to 
truth, would have been ineffectual, for any other end than 
the vindication of the truth. God commendeth his love to- 
wards us, in that Christ died for us while enemies. The 
blood of Abel, on any other supposition, speaks as indiffer- 
ent a language as his. The Mosaic ritual loses its signifi- 
cance, and is not even a shadow of Christ's propitiatory sac- 
rifice, if it cleanse not the believer from sin. The hope set 
before us in the Gospel, is a spider's web, and a snare, if 
Christ's offering perfect not the sanctified. And what but a 
phantom, is peace with God, if the curse man's sins invoke, 
has not been sustained in the person of the crucified ? No 
liberty of access to God, is offered to the sinner, nor encour- 
agement to repentance ; nor is any holy fear begotten in the 
human heart, by a gospel subversive of this doctrine. The 
flaming sword which guarded the tree of life, had found its 
scabbard, only in the transgressor's heart, had not Jesus 
stood between, and received its envenomed point ; and every 
conscience, when awakened from its slumbers, yields to a 
conviction of this truth. Wherewith, then, shall we come be- 
fore the Lord ? Sacrifice thousands of rams, and rivers of 
oil ; or the fruit of the body, for the sin of the soul, and con- 
science will answer, all these were God's before : such sac- 
rifices make nothing perfect, as pertaining to the conscience. 
There must be a better hope brought in. Will you find it 
in your repentances ? Have you the assurance of God, that 
a broken heart is not a despicable offering ? Tis true — but 



SERMON XIII. 



186 



where, save in the cross of Christ, was ever found an efficient 
motive to repentance ? Derived from any other views than 
this presents, man's repentance is as mercenary and servile, 
as are his sins. No man cometh to the Father but by him. 
None, but by this Prophet, knoweth the Father : nor even 
by him as a Prophet merely ; but I, " if I be lifted up, will 
draw all men to me" — and " they shall look upon him whom 
they have pierced and mourn." His soul is the only effica- 
cious offering for sin. By the knowledge of him who has 
borne their iniquities, is the end of his sufferings accomplish- 
ed, and the many" transgressors are justified. In staying the 
wrath of God, the throne of justice is supported, and its ex- 
actions answered, only by his obedience unto death. Is this 
the language of earth only, and an obscured vision ? WJiat 
means that voice, then, from the abodes of the just ? What 
mean those ascriptions of glory to the Lamb, who loved us 
and washed our filthy garments in his blood ? Some sinners 
are confessedly, before the throne of God — They walk the 
city of the Great King. But nothing enters there which de- 
file th. Their righteousness is not the basis of their thrones. 
Whence then their spotlessness . ? Has their repentance ob- 
tained redemption for them, and adoption, and the inheri- 
tance of sons f No ! they have entered into the holiest by 
his blood, who has redeemed them to God ; and who is made 
unto them wisdom, righteousness, and redemption. In him 
they are justified — in his cross, therefore, they glory. The 
gospel itself, as the ministration of the Spirit, and the power 
of God, has its efficacy, as well as its origin, in his blood. 
The agency of the Holy Spirit, without which man will not 
seek deliverance, was a gift for which Jesus pledged his life ; 
and it was only when he redeemed that pledge, that the 
Spirit, in his promised copiousness, came down. Fly then, 
poor Pagan ! to your obscene and bloody rites, and immo- 
late the body to redeem the soul. Rest, deluded Catholic I 
24 



186 



SEKMON XIII. 



en the intercession of your Virgin, and your canonized 
Saint, the refining fires of purgatory, or the merit of super- 
numerary works. And ye, not less deluded Protestants ! 
who would be justified by the Law, look, if ye will, to your 
own rectitude for the crown of life. Face the Judge of 
men, and claim a seat with him, by virtue of your repen- 
tance, love, and obedience. Let the man of this world too, 
regardless of every religious system, exult in his superiority 
to prejudice ; and trust, for future peace, to an undefined, 
and unchristian mere}'. "But God forbid that I should 
glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" — "In 
whom I live ; and yet not I, but he in me" — In whom are 
hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge — In whom 
alone, a sinner finds his wealth, his pleasure, his renown, his 
hope, his righteousness, his all. 

4. The cross of Christ alone, in the fourth place, spreads 
before us, in one harmonious view, the perfections of the 
Deit} T . It is possible for man to discover something of the 
grandeur of God, in the works of his creative power, and 
skill. In those heavens which he has spread out as a cur- 
tain — in this variegated earth, peopled and supported by his 
bounty. Something of his moral nature, is discoverable by 
the reasoning mind, in the providence which guides and gov- 
erns all — in the cheerful and genial sun, daily rising on the 
evil and the good — in the fertilizing rain, descending on the 
unthankful and the just. His justice now and then breaks 
out — a foretaste of the sinner's doom, and that of all the 
nations who forget God — burning here, on the cities set forth 
as an example of eternal vengeance : and there, taking a 
range more entirely corresponding with the universal cor- 
ruption of man, and deluging the world. But these, and 
more than these perfections, concentrate and pour in full 
radiance on the soul, when reflected from the face of Jesus 



SERMON XIII. 



187" 



Christ. Here is more than the beneficence which was sung 
at the birth of nature — It is the mercy and wisdom of a 
God, combined to restore the beauty of a creation, shrouded 
in darkness, and defaced, deranged, and cursed, by sin. 
Here too, in awful glory, is exhibited that love of holiness^ 
which, coming in competition with parental pity, pierces the 
bosom of an only and beloved Son, to give honor to regal 
authority. Benevolence and purity, here meet together, and 
are blended with a prescience, and regard to truth ; with 
pity for the sinner, and support for the majesty of a God, 
such as no pencil, no conception can reach. God is just, 
and cannot let the guilty live — God is love, and will not let 
the sinner die. God is great in counsel, and mighty in 
work : a device, therefore, and its execution, cannot be want- 
ing, to the great end of illustrating all his attributes, and 
rescuing his name and government from reproach, and the 
enemies of his kingdom from bearing that reproach in their 
own bosom. In the cross of Christ, I see the harmony of 
the divine attributes, while its mighty sufferer lifts his eye to 
heaven, and cries — "the reproaches of them that reproach- 
ed thee, be upon me." 'Tis done — on him they fall ; and 
nature draws over her whole form, the veil of mourning, 
while her author takes on his innocent head the reproaches 
which the guilty must otherwise have borne. Terms of re- 
conciliation are put into his hands, and the believing, hum- 
bled rebel, lives. "O the depth of the riches, both of the 
wisdom and knowledge of God 5 ' — How unsearchable the 
judgment ! How unutterable the grace ! In a Jpain of re- 
deemed sinners, the sufferer sees the fruit of the agonies for 
which he endured the cross ; and his immortal seed of every 
nation, and people, and kindred, and tongue, counting all 
things loss, and renouncing all other boasts for the knowledge 
of him, bow the knee, and glory only in the Lord. Let 



SERMON XIII. 



" the poor Indian," and his mistaken "eulogist of tutor'd 
mind,'* 

" See God in clouds, and hear him in the wind." 
Let the Philosopher content himself to ascend, through the 
laws of matter, and by force of intellect alone, to nature's 
God. This, this only, is eternal life, to know the true God, 
through the cross of Christ. He only has cause for glory- 
ing, who glories in this, that he understandeth that the Lord 
exercises truth, and loving kindness, and forgiveness in the 
€arth, because in these things he delights. Here alone, in 
coming to Christ, man, heavy-laden with sin, finds rest unto 
his soul. And here we might stop, and say without hyper- 
bole, our cup runneth over, did not something more than 
grateful recollections become a sinner, having such a foun- 
dation for triumph in the Lord. 

II. But, brethren, if this be our boast, we shall evince our 
attachment to the cross, by those principles and habits of 
life, which correspond with the figure in the text — We shall 
prove, by being no more conformed to the world, that we 
are crucified with Christ. It is indispensable to this, and an 
essential part of our salvation, that we be " planted in the 
likeness of Christ's death." Superiority to the world, is the 
appropriate evidence of the crucifixion of those corrupt af- 
fections, which live and reign, with unsubdued sway, while 
the likeness of the first Adam remain. Whoever is dead to 
sin, is released also from its guilt; and, transplanted into 
another region, he grows up with Christ, in a kingdom not 
of this wo^d — is nourished by the same root, and bears 
fruit of the same spiritual and immortal nature. The whole 
body of sin, like that of Christ, is dead — the old nature has 
no more dominion over us. Oh ! my brethren, the objects 
of this world can satisfy no other than the man who loves 
the world. But in that man, said our great Prophet, dwells 
not the love of the Father. They who crucified the Son of 



SERMON XIII. 



189 



God, would have cheerfully marched with him to death, had 
he assumed the purple and the sceptre ; and, instead of con- 
flicting with spiritual wickedness, vaulted into the imperial 
throne. Far nobler were the objects, Jesus sought for. his 
Father, and for you. He came to emancipate the soul, from 
the fetters of ignorance and sin — to free the guilty from their 
condemnation, and the Father's name from scandal ; by en- 
lightening the understanding, exposing the vanity, and con- 
founding the pride, of man — By establishing new principles 
of action, subduing the lusts, and correcting the fond expec- 
tations of the deceitful heart. He came to change the pur- 
suits, and maxims, and spirit, of the world; and to lead up 
the moral wanderer, through the valley of humiliation, 
to the mansions of glory, in his Father's house. Conformity 
to his purposes, is conformity to his cross. The world have 
no such ends to answer. If they could purchase an interest 
in his kingdom, self-denial and mortification to the world, 
would be too great a price. Yet an interest in this kingdom 
begins with this figure, and adheres to it, through all the 
stages of our progress to the consummation of its glory. 
"He that beareth not his cross, cannot be my disciple." 
Friendship with both kingdoms, is an impossibility which 
God has not required. The hopes of men, therefore, who 
are resolved to maintain friendship with the world, are ut- 
terly extinguished by the doctrine of the cross. As the world 
can love only its own, and christians are not of the world, 
they are necessarily subjected, like the Master, to the same 
kind of conflict and suffering. They must sustain its pity, 
forsake its guilty pursuits and pleasures, and endure its in- 
difference, suspicion and contempt. But for this, any man 
might prove his attachment to the cross. Who, for example, 
would be scandalized, if he might revenge his own wrongs — 
if he might give scope to the passions which the world in- 
flames by its allurements, or provokes by its injustice— if he 



190 



SERMON XIII. 



might "seekers*," any other than "the kingdom of God, 
and his righteousness" — if, in short, he might glory in his 
wisdom, or virtue, or pleasures, or riches, or any thing hu- 
man, and be still a christian f Every mark of discipleship 
is a contradiction of such desires. It is the prostration of 
his pride, the restraint of his foolish imagination, the sub- 
jugation of every corrupt propensity, which render hina 
the lively image of a meek, forgiving, lowly, submissive, 
crucified Saviour. The spirit which leads the sinner 
to make the world, or self, his idol, implies contempt 
of the cross of Christ. This cross-bearing spirit, (as 
every man who has tried it knows) is a willingness to 
suffer for well-doing. What kind of martyrs for the tes- 
timony of Jesus, would the Apostles have made, had they 
courted the friendship of the world ? Had they loved ease, 
or pleasure ? — Had they been unable to bear the " proud 
man's contumely," the libertine's wit, the moralist's sneer, 
the scoffer's taunts, and the drunkard's song ? — Had they 
chosen to enjoy the smiles of popular favor, a reputation for 
prudence, and any of the blandishments of human glory, 
rather than the whispers of a peaceful conscience with tribu- 
lation ; or with reproach from man, the approbation of God ? 
Dare a man of such preferences say, " I am not ashamed of 
the gospel of Christ." Or, whatever his pretensions, says 
his life so ? Let no man talk of christian virtue, who so de- 
tracts from his Master's honor, to preserve his own — who 
connives at sin, under the pretext of securing respect for his 
religion ; and who would rather hazard the loss of a soul, 
than incur the reproach of illiberality, and the retort of the 
scorner — " heal thyself." Such an one bears not in his 
body, the marks of the Lord Jesus, nor is the life of Jesus 
manifest in him. 

2. Next to fellowship in Christ's sufferings, we are to 
prove our attachment to the cross, by a marked complacen- 



SERMON XIII. 



191 



ejy in the scheme of man's redemption. I tremble for that 
soul, which shrinks from the duty of confessing the truth as 
it is in Jesus. " God manifest in the flesh," is a subject, 
into whose connexions, design, and influence, the angels, 
who have no personal interest in it, i£ desire to look." 
Where the treasure is, the heart will be. Man is always 
most conversant, with what he most loves. The vine which 
depends for its support upon the tree, will wind around and 
cling to it. Delighting in the plan of redemption, it will be 
the frequent subject of our admiring and grateful contem- 
plation : and our love will disclose, and diffuse itself, by 
every organ of communication. How did it open the lips, 
suffuse the eye, and move the limbs, of him, who, that he 
might win Christ, counted all things loss ! How did he de- 
light to abase himself, and magnify his office, just as by 
these means, God was to be exalted ! Paul, though he would 
not deny his conversion, still esteemed himself, the least 
of saints ; and in view of the grace he had long resisted, in- 
sisted upon being counted the chief of sinners. Nay, 
though not conscious of being surpassed in learning, or gifts, 
by any of them, he was content to be called the least of the 
Apostles — To be the servant of all, and to be ranked by the 
world, with the oflscouring of the earth. Behold this con- 
vert from Judaism in the scenes of his public life — or follow 
him to the places of his retirement, and, prominent in all, 
you see the Lord of glory. In the market and the syna- 
gogue — at tent-making, or in prison — Jesus Christ, and him 
crucified, is all his theme. Arraigned as a felon, or about 
to receive the honors of a pagan Deity- — mingling with the 
mob who are sworn to kill him, or seated with the renown- 
ed scholars of Athens — in the theatre, or in the boat — tear- 
ing himself from his christian friends, or exposed, by the 
slander of false Apostles, to lose his influence with the 
church— not Pat/7, but Jesus Christ, is the burden of his 



192 



SERMON XIIL 



story. That he may be magnified, in his life and in his 
death, is the language alike of his actions and his lips. To 
live, is Christ ; and to depart, gain, so he may be with him. 
Whenever he may speak of him, though in chains, he en- 
voys freedom — whenever he may exalt him, though it be in the 
darkness and silence of midnight suffering, there he sings 
praises (without a note of sadness) to God. But was Chris- 
tianity in him then, a different thing, from Christianity in any 
man, ?iow? Does the same cause produce opposite effects ? 
Or is complacency in the scheme of redemption in one age,, 
the spring of all that is noble in principle, and generous in 
action, and any thing that is pitiful, base, and dastardly, in 
another ? Did it make the first christians bold for God, and 
enterprizing in behalf of his kingdom, and does it make us 
afraid to defend the truth, relating to a brother, or to Christ ? 
No, believe me, that "charity which seeketh not her own," 
and which is neither " easily provoked" nor " puffed up," 
has changed neither her nature nor her dress. It still gives 
to every man his due, to God exclusively, the glory of man's 
salvation. To conquer self, and overcome the world, this 
is still the victory of Faith. 

3. A third mark of attachment to the cross of Christ, is 
the public confession of him before men ; especially, in the 
visible commemoration of his death, and a corresponding 
walk in him. The test he has given us of friendship to him, 
is the universal observance of his precepts and ordinances. 
What lover of his country, delights not to commemorate her 
deliverance ? who is not refreshed, by the story of the sacri- 
fices and the virtues, through which we inherit our religious 
and civil rights ? Is any such man afraid to profess his at- 
tachment to the memory of his ancestors, lest he should 
prove unworthy of them ? Must we never weep over the 
grave of departed worth, lest we should remember and feel 
our obligations to love and imitate it ? Is this the character 



SERMON XIII. 



193 



of a friend — attached above all things to the cross of Christ t 
Does such a heart stand aloof, from the memorial of the 
most stupendous work of God — of a death which atoned for 
the sins of the world — at which all nature mourned — at the 
fruits of which, all heaven rejoices ? Does friendship, and 
respect, for Christ, prompt a man to turn his back upon the 
memorial of a deliverer, who has taught us to associate with 
it, nothing but thoughts of peace and good will to man, with 
glory to God in our salvation ? Who can love a theme, 
which illustrates all the perfections of his Maker, Redeemer, 
and Judge, and not hail the day on which he rose, and tri- 
umphed over sin, and not come to the table which brings his 
cross, and crown, to our remembrance ; and bids us, if we 
hunger, take freely of the bread of God ; if we thirst, for 
the waters of life, to come and drink without money and 
without price? Is such thy kindness to thy friends ? Oh ! 
whoever exulted in the thought of freedom from sin, and yet 
was unwilling, for any cause, to partake in the spoils and 
the triumph offered him by him who has slain this monster? 
On what sad day, do these sacred symbols return to greet 
our eyes, and he who loves the Saviour say — " but not to 
me return ?" Who turns away from this table, merely out 
of love to his dying friend $ or because he would have his 
love invigorated, and his humility increased, and his sorrow 
for sin rendered deeper, and his zeal and gratitude, made to 
burn with intenser flame ? Who excuses himself from this 
feast, that he may have a more voluntary, and happy exile, 
from all the world, that he may be more abstracted from 
himself and enjoy more close communion with his Lord ? 
Oh I be cautious, beloved hearer, lest you go away, when 
Jesus invites you, because you have no relish for that cross, 
which places true glory at a point, beyond the goal of your 
ambition — Because here sit the fool, and the wayfaring 
man : and because the babes who are here, are not christian 
25 



194 



SERMON XIIL 



enough, for communion with you. Beware lest self-right- 
eousness, instead of a sense of your unworthiness, carry you 
away. Go if you choose, but rememher, it is as easy for 
him who eateth not, as for him who dippeth in the dish with 
Christ, to lift up the heel against him. You see the danger 
on one ^ide only ; Christ, when he bids you come, looks on 
both. 

4. Finally, he only evinces his attachment to the cross, 
and glories in that alone, who, in the great object of his pur- 
suit, co-operates with God to the end for which he gave his 
Son to death. We therefore, as co-workers with him, be- 
seech you, hearers ! that ye receive not the grace of God in 
vain. But for what end did he die ? Was it not to redeem 
us from all iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar 
people, zealous of good works ? you look in vain to Christy 
if you lose sight of this. He has meekly borne every other 
indignity, but he will never consent to this — He will not be 
made the minister of sin. In vain you turn your eye to Cal- 
vary, if you are not changed into the image of the Saviour. 
The tree which bore our sins, saves no man who has nothing 
of the benevolence which planted it, nor of the mercy which 
dropped from it. Its fruit, is for the healing of the wound 
which sin has made. To that end direct } T our eye to it, and 
Christ's death becomes the price, and his resurrection the 
pledge, of your happy immortality. Unsanctified by that 
temper of love, which held to the latest breath the spirit of 
forgiveness, Christ to you is dead in vain. If any man be 
devoid of his spirit, he is none of his. They are the men 
glorying only in his cross., who do his will. They are cru- 
cified to the world, and the world unto them — They walk 
humbly with God. They will be calm, when the last thun- 
ders roll : and the voice which pronounces man's final doom* 
will be to them sweet as the harps of the angelic choir. Who 
would not be crucified for an eternity of such bliss f 



SERMON XIV 

THE MOUNT OF REFUGE. 

Genesis, xix. 17. 

Escape for thy life—look not behind thee — neither tarry thou in 
all the plain. Escape to the mountain, lest thou he consumed. 

THE history of Lot, and especially that part of it to which 
this passage refers, exemplifies the apostolic intimation, that 
the righteous being scarcely saved, there is no hope for the 
ungodly and the sinner. His wife, his children, his proper- 
ty, were all destroyed, with every thing pertaining to that 
wicked city which he had chosen for the place of his resi- 
dence, and he himself did but escape. He should not have 
chosen such a city for his residence. The prospect of gain, 
was but a wretched prospect ; and its fullest acquisition, a 
miserable compensation for the evils to which he subjected 
himself, by removing to a place where the ordinances of re- 
ligion were unknown, and dissipation and iniquity were uni- 
versal. But besides the certain vexation to which he ex- 
posed himself daily, by taking up his abode in such a place, 



196 



SERMON XIV. 



and indulging in intercourse with such a people ; he put the 
welfare of his family in jeopardy, and though he himself 
was saved, they became a prey to the contagion of bad ex- 
ample, and perished with the wicked citizens of Sodom. 
But righteous men are not always wise, and but for divine 
grace, their own indiscretions would ruin them. 

God having commissioned his angels to destroy the city, 
(none righteous being found there, save this one man) they 
entered Lot's house, warned him of his danger, and informed 
him of the possibility of his seasonable retreat. Believing 
unhesitatingly the word of the Lord, he went out to commu- 
cate the intelligence to his family friends, his children es- 
pecially, who were settled around him, and urge them to 
partake, with him, in the benefit of the kind admonition. 
But being unsuccessful in persuading them of their danger, 
he lingered to expostulate with them. Perceiving this, the 
angels laid hold upon him, his wife, and daughters, and 
urged them violently out of the city ; and having thus far 
secured them from immediate ruin, thus addressed him — 
" Escape for thy life — look not behind thee — neither tarry 
thou in all the plain. Escape to the mountain, lest thou be 
consumed. " 

The obvious analogy between the case just described, and 
impenitent sinners, will lead us from the history to the doc- 
trine. Was the city in which Lot dwelt, devoted to destruc- 
tion ? — So are all men under the Law's condemnation. Were 
Lot and his family, kindly provided a refuge from the im- 
pending ruin f — So are the impenitent under the Gospel. 
Were the one shown the mount of safety, and urgently en- 
treated to make good their escape to it ? — So are the other. 
Did the salvation of Lot and his family, depend on their sea- 
sonable flight from the city, and the plains, of Sodom ? — So 
does that of the sinner, on his seasonable flight to Christ, 
the only refuge from death. The admonition of the text, 



SERMON XIV. 



then, addressed to Lot, by the angels of God's mercy, may 
be considered as the voice of God's embassadors to men, 
condemned and ready to perish. 

1 . In the first place, was the city of Sodom, in which 
Lot dwelt, devoted to destruction ? — So are all the trans- 
gressors of God's law, while they remain under its condem- 
nation. The whole history of the plan and execution of the 
work of redemption, presupposes, and is built upon, the fact, 
that the soul that sins must die. The great end of the gift of 
Christ to the world, was to magnify the law, and redeem 
them who were under its curse. Why else, if we make our 
reason the umpire, should such a plan have been originated ? 
Why should the Son of God be manifested — why be holden 
to perfect obedience to the law — and why suffer its curse ? 
Why should his mediation become necessary to human safety 
and happiness, on any other supposition, than that our title 
to life was lost, and our subjection to the law's penalty un- 
questionable ? And if our own reason establishes the con- 
clusion, that by law no man is justified, but all devoted to 
destruction, much more do the explicit declarations of Christ, 
and his witnesses, render clear and certain this doctrinal 
verity. "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all 
things, written in the book of the law, to do them"— is the 
unchangeable, and uniform tenor, of the revelations both of 
Moses and of Christ. That wickedness, which is explicitly 
declared by an Apostle, to consist only in the violation of 
the law, is, with equal explicitness, declared, by Apostles, 
and Christ himself, to have incurred "the damnation of hell." 
Resting in these assurances, Christ appealed to the Phari- 
sees themselves, whether there existed a possibility of es- 
cape, since both Jews and Gentiles are confessedly under the 
law, alike transgressors of it, and therefore, all concluded 
under sin : so that on this charge, every mouth is stopped, 
and the whole world is become guilty before God. It has 



19$ 



SERMON XIV. 



indeed been said, 'the law was peculiar to the Jews as a rule 
of life.' But the Apostle denies it ; and alleges, that every 
moral agent is alike condemned by it, though to all it has 
not come in the same form of exhibition. Even the heathen 
have the substance of it written on their consciences, and so 
are a law unto themselves : yet neither they, nor the Jews, 
nor sinners under the gospel, have fulfilled it. They are, 
of consequence, condemned by it, and devoted to destruc- 
tion. 

Nor is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance. It is a 
common artifice of the sinful heart to suppose, since Christ 
died to redeem us from the curse of the law, that liis inter- 
cession is prevalent for this end, without regard to any 
change in the character of the transgressor. But here both 
the analogy, and scriptural facts and doctrines, fail to sup- 
port, or even to render plausible, the conjecture. Abraham 
interceded for the devoted city; but his intercession failed, 
in all the extent in which its inhabitants were unrighteous. 
God would have spared it for fifty, at his request — for thir- 
ty — for twenty — for ten — but they were not found. That 
intercession, like Christ's, was applicable only to the rightr 
eous. " I pray for these," said Christ, " I pray not for the 
world." It would defeat the very end of his mediation, to 
save the wicked, any further than they are saved from their 
wickedness. Their state cannot be changed, but by a 
change of character. His object was to vindicate, not de- 
stroy the law — to magnify, not dishonor it. Therefore he 
is said " to save his people from their sins :" otherwise, he 
would be " the minister of sin." The law would be made 
void, even in the salvation of the believer, were not faith a 
purifier of the heart. But God forbid, we should make void 
the law, says the Apostle, by preaching peace, through 
Christ, to the believer : on the contrary, we thus establish 
the law. Beyond all doubt then, every transgressor is as 



SERMON XIV. 



199 



certainly, before faith, devoted to destruction, as he is under 
the law's condemnation; and Christ's having borne the curse, 
can profit him nothing. Other arguments equally unan- 
swerable, are not wanting to confirm this position, but others 
are not necessary. As to Lot, therefore, in the devoted 
city, the Angel of mercy cried, "escape for thy life;" so 
are the embassadors of Christ instructed to lift up the voice 
of warning and entreaty, and exhort sinners under the gos- 
pel, to " flee from the wrath to come." We obey the in- 
struction ; and, until you practically hear, proclaim the fact, 
that the wrath of God abideth on you. 

2. Secondly, were Lot and his family kindly provided a 
mount of refuge from the impending ruin, and entreated to 
make good their escape to it — so are you. The condemna- 
tion of sinners, however just, is not necessarily final, and ir- 
remediable. They are prisoners ; but they are "prisoners of 
hope" They are lost ; but are not irrecoverably lost. 
They are sold under sin ; but there is a ransom price, and a 
Redeemer at hand. They are dead ; but may live again, 
" God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son." " He 
died the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." 
And what the mountain was to Lot, Christ Jesus is to all 
who believe in him. Hid in this mountain of refuge, your 
eyes shall behold the destruction of the wicked, but the 
storm which overwhelms them shall not come nigh you. 
There is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ 
Jesus: they are made free from the law of sin and death : 
sin has no more dominion over them : they are under grace, 
and the curse of the law cannot reach them : Christ is the 
interposing shield between its penalty and death, and its 
foice is spent and exhausted on this shield. The believer is 
hid in him, as in a sanctuary which no enemy can approach — 
an impregnable fortress, in which sin, and death, and hell 
combined, can make no breach. " It is God who justify 



200 



SERMON XIV. 



eth," through faith ; " who is he that condemneth ?" It is 
Christ who intercedes for the believer, and who ever liveth 
and prevaileth. " The Lord's name is a strong tower, the 
righteous runneth into it and is safe." From this mount 
you may see, on either hand, the desolating storm which 
you have avoided, and the heavenly Jerusalem which is to 
be the everlasting home of the redeemed. Here you may 
serenely contemplate the dangers, and the death, you have 
escaped ; and triumphantly sing of the mercies of the Lord, 
which the spirits of the just partake. 

Flee then, to this strong hold, prisoners of hope ! Lay 
hold on the good set before you in the gospel. Set your 
feet on this Rock of ages ; and like Lot, you are delivered 
from the fate of them, who were set forth as an example of 
the vengeance of eternal fire, Such is the language of God 
to you ; and the words of the Lord are tried words — they 
are pure, and graven on the rock forever. " He that be- 
lieveth shall be saved." God sent not his Son into the 
world to condemn it ; but this is the Father's will, that every 
one who seeth the Son, and believeth on him, should have 
everlasting life. But remember, there is salvation in none 
other. No other name is known under heaven, which ap- 
proaches such an influence. Embrace the Son therefore, 
lest ye perish from the way, while yet it is open to your 
feet. We tell you words, by which you and your house- 
hold ma}^ be saved. 

3. But, in the third place, as the salvation of Lot and 
his family, depended on their immediate flight from the 
city, and the plain, of Sodom ; so, also, does your's upon 
your immediate flight to Christ, as the only refuge from 
destruction. The sons "of Lot mocked, and tarried, and 
died with the inhabitants. The wife cast but a longing, 
lingering look behind, and, as a monument of guilt and fol- 
ly, she stands to this day a beacon to mankind. Hasten 



SERMON XIV. 



-201 



then, sinner ! Delay not an hour. A few steps will place 
you beyond the besom of desolation, and establish your feet 
on the mount of safety. But they must be decisive steps. 
The angel of God stands pointing you the way ; the hand 
of mercy grasps your arm with earnestness, and draws you 
away from all your worldly endearments. You would take 
with you, and even wait for, them who mock, or linger. It 
may not be. Renounce all; forsake all; deny your very self, 
and follow him. Already the sound of the rushing wind is 
heard — the heavens are black — the lightnings streak the 
clouds — the sulphurous flames descend — the city is envel- 
oped in the desolating cloud. Does Lot stop now, to take 
the substance that he gathered in the iniquitous heap ? Did 
he even think of any thing but life ? And had he done so, 
even this should have never been given him for a prey — he 
could not have escaped. But here, all comparison fails. 
What was the life, which he left all else to save ? A poor, 
dying life, which was soon, at the longest, to vanish away. 
Not such, sinner ! the life you are exhorted to regard — the life 
of the soul, is in jeopardy with you. Lot might have been 
buried with the Sodomites, and still have saved his soul : 
but if you escape not during your natural life, your all is 
lost. If, by faith in Jesus Christ, you are not freed from the 
condemnation of the law, the curse of Jehovah rests upon 
you forever. "Escape for thy life" has, to you, a meaning 
of far more solemn import, than when it rung upon the 
startled ear of the stranger on the plains of Sodom. It is 
eternal life — it is the immortality brought to light by the 
gospel, which depends upon your immediate escape from 
your present moral condition. And will you not fly ? Hear 
the voice of the angel, if tempted for any cause to hesitate — 
" look not behind thee, neither tarry thou in all the plain. 
Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." Ah ! here 
is your danger — you will look back ; and look still with 
26 



202 



SERMON XIV. 



complacency, upon the objects which procured your con- 
demnation — the sinful objects which are but fuel to the de- 
vouring flame. Escape from the pollutions which are in the 
world — the lusts of the flesh — the pleasures of sin. Look 
not back with delight upon thy farms, and thy merchandize, 
and the things of this world which thou hast abused — upon 
thy gains, and thy goods laid up in store. Leave all : for- 
sake houses and lands, and wife and children, all that thou 
hast : yield every thing to the consideration, that life is de- 
pending — that "now is the accepted time" — and let not even 
the plea of duty to thy household retard thy steps, lest, 
while deliberating, thou art lost. You may indeed see no 
danger, with the mortal eye ; but ask not the evidence of 
the eye, while you have that of the ear. It is the voice of 
an angel, which Lot hears : you hear the voice of God. " Be 
not faithless, but believing :" disobedience is sin ; and it is 
from sin you are to fly — 'tis this you are to hate, as death. 
Think of nothing but what is before thee — the narrow way 
— the mountain of refuge — the celestial city — and run, so as 
to obtain. Let your eyes look right onward, and your eye- 
lids straight before you : the mountain is in sight. "Look 
not behind thee" — thy sympathy may attract thee to the 
burning city : some old companion may catch thine eye, 
and the eye aflect the heart, and protract thy stay, and you 
be consumed together. "Look not behind thee"— -your 
resolution may be shaken, when you behold the goodly 
things you are to leave. " Look not behind thee" — you 
may forget the object, for which your face is turned toward 
the mountain. "Look not behind thee" — your cumbrous 
load of sins may weigh you down, and sink you to despair. 
" Look not behind thee" — it is distrust of God. " Look not 
behind thee" — perchance they may be making merry at 
your precipitate flight, and you be made ashamed, and dis- 
suaded from your purpose. " Look not behind thee" — your 



SERMON XIV. 



203 



children will catch at the example. Remember the reward 
of him, who puts his hand to the plough, and looks back — 
of him who valued not his birthright above his pottage — the 
fate of him, once washed, who returned to his wallowing in 
the mire. Resist, even unto blood, in the conflict with your 
sins ; and agonize to reach the appointed place of your re- 
treat. Flee, as if an angel spoke to you — as if the monster 
Death were in pursuit. It is for thy life, remember, the life 
of the soul ! 

"Neither tarry thou in all the plain." — A partial escape 
from your sins is not obedience. You may break off many 
evil habits, and yet remain upon the open plain. Think not 
of safety any where, but in the appointed place of refuge. 
Be not content to avoid the burden of the storm. You have 
gained nothing, till you have gained Christ. You will find 
neither rest, nor security, any where but in him. "His 
blood cleanseth from all sin." It will not suffice, even to ap- 
proach the line — to be almost over. The almost-christian 
is in the very suburbs of Sodom, and danger and death are 
around him. Go ever so far, you are in the kingdom of Sa- 
tan, till your whole body, and soul, and spirit, have become 
united to Christ. Satan's kingdom lies all along the plain. 
Get thee to the mount : there Christ teaches : there his dis- 
ciples dwell safely, and free from the fear of evil. Stay not 
in all the plain. Follow the direction fully, or you come 
short of obedience. Thousands have been slain, just at the 
entering in of the gate. They have taken conviction for 
conversion — light for love ; and in the sparks of their own 
kindling, walked on securely, and at the hand of God, laid 
down in sorrow'. No part of Satan's ground is safe stand- 
ing. It is ice, but has no solidity. It may bear him, who 
skims swiftly over it to the rock: it will let him through, 
who pauses and stands still. Stay not in all the plain. 
However beautiful its borders, the plants are noxious — the 



204 



SERMON XIY. 



fruit is death. Pluck not a single flower, however fair its 
colors : snuff not the fragrance, however grateful to the 
^ense — the very scent is poison. Speed your flight — be 
spirited — -be violent — till you pass the boundary. "The 
kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it 
by force." Since John's ministry, this kingdom has been so 
preached, and every man who would make it sure, presseth 
into it. Stay not in all the plain. — This is your only oppor- 
tunity ; and should the storm now burst, which is already 
near, even this will be lost. O ! if it come on you, as it has 
done on many, though you seek to enter in, you shall not 
be able. It will be time enough to think of rest, when the 
mountain is gained. The time for action is limited : be- 
yond what you now have, none is at your command, none 
within your power. " Behold now is the accepted time; be- 
hold now is the day of salvation." Speed your flight, sin- 
ner ! The Angel hastens to his work of destruction : you 
richly deserve a share in its desolating effects. — Speed your 
flight. Are you weary f O ! it is time to be weary, of try- 
ing the patience of an offended God. Of what should you 
be weary, but of sin f But are you weary ; and would you 
have rest f Flee to Christ, and he will give it you : he has 
promised it, and you can be at no loss where to find him. 
Behold the word is nigh thee, even at the door of thy lips — 
that word of faith which we preach. Say not, who shall as- 
cend up to heaven, to bring Christ down again from above. 
The mount of refuge is near. — " If thou wilt confess with 
thy mouth, the Lord Jesus ; and believe in thine heart, that 
God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." 
And with what, but the heart, would you believe ? The un- 
derstanding ? The Devils do this, and tremble ; and are 
Devils still. You do this, without even their emotion, and 
are sinners still. O ! stay not here. This resting place, 
wearies my God ; it produces your sleep ; and if this sleep 



SERMON Xm 



205 



be not broken, you shall sleep perpetually and not wake, 
saith the Lord. Stay not then — The consequences are fear- 
ful ; they are eternal. How terrible to the thought : to en- 
dure, how ineffably dreadful ! O ! stay not a moment, on 
the plain of impiety : escape for thy life, lest thou be con- 
sumed. 

You see, in this illustration, my hearers ! a striking exam- 
ple of the justice, as well as mercy, of God to sinners, as ex- 
hibited in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the 
Apostle expressly declares, that it was designed by God, and 
recorded, for this very end. " The wrath of God is reveal- 
ed from heaven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness 
of men while at the same time, a Saviour both from sin 
and wrath, is provided, in whom they may take refuge. 
And there is no possible relief, as there is no apology or ex- 
cuse, for such as fail, for any cause, to avail themselves in 
time of this provision. The messengers of God, like Angels 
of mercy, are sent to warn them of their danger, and point 
out to them the way of escape. — To state to them, that after 
death is the judgment; when, if they are found without the 
bounds of Christ's kingdom, " destruction is inevitable." 
Every thing, in this view, which the wicked love, and pur- 
sue, is seen to be comparatively worthless, and to be count- 
ed as loss. The various pretexts, of duty to our families — 
of taking care of our temporal interest — of ignorance of the 
way — of difficulties in our path — are all clearly shown, by 
this example, to be worthless, and invalid excuses, for any 
man's neglecting to " seek first the kingdom of God and his 
righteousness :" since God has declared this the only possi- 
ble way of safet} 7 , and the course absolutely essential to duty. 
Like ihe path of the man-slayer, to the city of refuge, the 
way of the sinner's salvation, is made plain. The danger, 
and the refuge, are inscribed in legible characters, in the 
books of the law and the gospel : so that he may run and 



206 



SERMON XIV. 



read; and he has time enough to escape the avenger of 
blood, who is in pursuit ; and make sure his entrance into 
the city of refuge. There he will be welcomed and no 
avenger can molest him. And, in virtue of the death of the 
High Priest, he may be one day, certainly, and graciously, 
restored to the purchased inheritance. The trial will be an 
impartial, and fair one, for all : but the single question will 
be, who availed himself of the refuge provided, and who did 
not ? This question answered, will determine the destiny of 
every man — of each member of every family — of each inhab- 
itant of every city, whether he dwelt in Sodom or Jerusa- 
lem — whether he were the " son in law" of the righteous, 
or the child of Belial. Whoever is then proved to have 
made Christ his refuge, and to have abode in him — persever- 
ing in the fruits of righteousness unto the end — will be open- 
ly acknowledged and acquitted : and whoever, under the 
gospel, has failed to do this, whatever his character, or his 
expectations, will be cast out as a dry, withered, and useless 
branch, fit only to be burned. These are the true sayings 
of God. They are applicable to every one of us without 
distinction. Their solemn import, both of warning and en- 
couragement, is intelligibly announced to every conscience ; 
and it remains to be seen, who among us will hear and live j 
and who despise and perish ! 



ft 



SERMON XV. 

VINDICTIVE JUSTICE INCOMPATIBLE WITH CHARITY* 

Romans, xii. 19. 

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but give place unto wrath : 
for it is written — Vengeance is mine, I ivill repay, saith the 
Lord. 

In a world like ours, where no man is free from imper- 
fection, and in which most are wholly selfish, there must be 
great forbearance somewhere. Else, every man's hand will 
be against his neighbour, and his neighbour's against him. 
In such circumstances, there could be no social happiness; 
and the race would be in danger of a speedy extermination. 
But, where all are probably culpable, in a greater or less 
degree, whose duty is it to give way ? Shall physical strength 
decide the question, and the weaker, in every case, submit 
to the stronger — the aged and infirm, to the healthy and ro- 
bust ? Such a rule of duty would not only be grossly in- 
equitable, but productive of incessant warfare, to settle the 
question of superiority. 

It becomes, therefore, an obvious duty, to "follow peace 
with all men" — a duty, the performance of which is essen- 



'208 



SERMON XV. 



tial to happiness. But perceiving the rooted depravity of 
the human heart, and that passion, instead of reason, governs 
the conduct of men ; the Governor of the world found it 
necessary to interpose his authority, and by positive statute, 
with the most awful sanction annexed, to settle for every in- 
dividual the question of duty. In that code of laws, which 
was given, through the Jewish Lawgiver, to mankind, it is 
written — "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." And 
to remove all ground of complaint on the part of the in- 
jured, it is added — to me belongeth vengeance and recom- 
pense. The feet of transgressors shall slide in due time : 
for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that 
shall come upon them make haste : for the Lord shall judge 
his people ; neither is there any that can deliver out of his 
hand. If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take 
hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine ene- 
mies — I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my 
sword shall devour flesh. 

In our intercourse with mankind, we hear much said of 
the importance of charity. Yet by many of those who high- 
ly commend it, it seems little understood ; and, unfortunate- 
ly for them, they who most rigorously exact it from others, 
are not the most ready to recommend it by their example. 
" Be ye not like them : for they say and do not." Hear 
the inspired description of its fruit. — " Recompense to no 
man evil for evil. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, 
live peaceably with all men. Avenge not yourselves, but 
give place unto wrath ; for i^ is written — vengeance is mine, 
I will repay, saith the Lord." 

I shall explain the text ; evince the reasonableness of the 
duty ; and apply the subject. 

I. Vengeance is the infliction of punishment, on those 
who have wronged us : or, the will, or wish, to see it inflict- 
ed. To avenge ourselves, therefore, is to redress our wrongs 



SERMON XV. 



209 



of person, character, liberty, or property, by inflicting mer- 
ited punishment* But vindictive justice, belongs to God 
alone : it is incompatible, in man, with charity to his brother 
man. On this sentiment the exhortation before us is found- 
ed ; and not on the supposition, that he who oppresses, slan- 
ders, reviles, or defrauds us, does not deserve punishment. 
But the honor of God, and the peace of society, forbid retal- 
iation. The redress of injuries by private violence — byre- 
turning injury for injury — has no tendency to make the of- 
fender better, or to mitigate the evil we have actually suffer- 
ed. There is not, therefore, a rational motive to vengeance. 

But what is it, to " give place unto wrath ?" Is it to al- 
low the flame, kindled by the collision of others' passions 
with ours, to burn within our own breasts ; provided, it 
break not forth to another's consumption ? Nothing can be 
more absurd. This were to cultivate the corrupt tree, and 
only to pluck off the blossoms — to cherish the will to re- 
venge, but to restrain the act. To " give place unto wrath," 
then, is a phrase, denoting the gentleness which yields to 
other men's fury, instead of exciting resistance to the pas- 
sions of the wicked : or, which opposes them, only with those 
soft words, which "turn away wrath" ; and to overcome vi- 
olence, by meekness ; and hatred with love. The very 
spirit of the law, as given us in the christian precepts ; and 
the words of the Apostle immediately following the text^ 
confirm this view of his design. To bless those who curse 
us ; to do good to those who hate us ; is not to add provo- 
cation, or fuel, to the flame. Yet this is the mode which di- 
vine wisdom has prescribed, to win the souls of the wicked — 
to evince the superior excellence of the christian temper — 
and to propagate a religion, productive only of good will to 
men ; and, if such fruit be desirable, he only takes efficient 
measures to be wise, and useful, who thus gives place unto 
wrath. 

I? 



210 



SERMON XV. 



II. I proceed then, in the second place, to evince the 
reasonableness of the requisition ; and thus to enforce the 
duty. God is the sole and rightful sovereign of an- 
gels and of men. It is his to govern without a coun- 
sellor, and without control. Be it remembered, then, 
that God claims it as his prerogative, to punish sin. — - 
He has proclaimed it as his pleasure, that the transgressor 
shall not receive his deserts, in the present state. The pe- 
riod, and place of retribution, lie beyond the verge of earth 
and time. It would defeat the wisest and best design of 
heaven, to change the place of man's trial and probation, into 
a state of punishment — a place of unmingled justice, and 
judgment. Is it not perfectly reasonable, then, that man 
should be required to abstain from every measure, which . 
tends to produce this change I Aside from our obligation, 
therefore, to love our enemies, there is a sound reason, and 
a broad foundation, for the prohibition, and the requisition, 
on which we meditate. The man who justifies by his prac- 
tice, and vindicates by argument, the custom of retaliation, 
teaches rebellion against the King of nations. He first, 
usurps an authority which belongs exclusively to God ; and 
next, employs that usurped authority, to counteract God's 
purposes of mercy to mankind. He wrests the sword of 
justice from the hand of his Sovereign, who alone has judg- 
ment to wield it ; and thrusts it at the miserable victim of 
his fury, before the time of trial is finished, and the means of 
reformation, which the grace of God has appointed him, are 
exhausted. Such is the ground which the Holy Spirit has 
assumed ; and it proves, beyond controversy, that the 
system of retaliation — that is, of rendering evil for evil — 
is a high-handed offence against the divine government ; 
that it is absolutely inconsistent with that benevolence 
to sinners, which God himself exercises, and requires 
us to imitate ; and is opposed, alike, to the law of 



SERMON XV. 



211 



nature, and to both tables of the decalogue. The conduct 
of those who intentionally injure their fellow men, is infinite- 
ly more offensive to God, than it can be to us ; yet he has 
patience to bear with them who are guilty of it, and to give 
opportunity for their conviction and reformation, before he 
punish it. And does it become man — himself an offender — ■ 
to hasten the judgment of God, by the execution of justice 
on his fellow man? Is it too much, in him who equally 
needs the compassion and forbearance of God, to prolong 
his patience, till immaculate Holiness pronounce the sentence, 
and direct the blow ? What an astonishing height, and 
length, and depth, and breadth of iniquit} r , is, in this view 
of the subject, chargeable on him, who, impatient for the day 
of vengeance, filches the thunderbolt from beneath the throne, 
and hurls it, unbidden, at a brother in crime ! I approach 
the closet of the disciple of Christ, and overhear, among his 
petitions, the entreaty — " Lord, let it alone this year also" — 
"lay not this sin to their charge." I go into the 
sanctuary, and witness, in the devout assembly, their 
strong crying to the God of mercy, for his enemies, to 
give them "repentance unto life." 1 ascend the hill of 
Zion, and see the angels of God preparing to descend, to 
minister unto them, who, through the prayers of the devout, 
are to be the heirs of salvation. I look on the right hand of 
the throne, and behold the Lamb, by sinners crucified and 
slain, interceding there, to take away their sins. I return 
to the familiar scenes of life, expecting some blessed fruits 
from all these precepts and patterns. But alas ! there, at 
the feet of wounded pride, lies the mangled body of the slan- 
derer ; and there, the seducer is answering, with his life, for 
the wrongs of an injured sister. Look at this picture, impla- 
cable spirit ! and think how those within the veil — how 
God, the Judge of all— regards the feelings of thine heart. 
Let us extend our view of the subject. He who once 



212 SERMON XV. 

came to earth, to present in our behalf, a sacrifice and 
a sin-offering unto God, will soon come again : "his 
reward with him, and his work before him." That work 
is to take vengeance on them who know not, or recog- 
nize not, God ; and obey not his gospel : that recompense, 
to punish, with everlasting destruction from the presence of 
the Lord, and the glory of his power. Then, " the wicked 
shall be turned into hell." Then, exact, and perfect justice, 
shall be measured to every sin, against the law of love to 
God, and love to men. Then, that slanderer will lift up his 
eyes, in despair of that mercy which he refused to seek ; and 
he who pursued to the death the seducer, will be found, with 
him, beyond the reach of a forgiveness which his revengeful 
soul would not exercise — the smoke of their torment, as- 
cending from the bottomless pit without intermission and 
without end. Then, the hopeless eye will look around, 
beneath, above ; and having, age after age, wept in vain, 
will discover not a heart to pity, not an arm to save. The 
day of vengeance, said Jehovah, was in my heart ; now it is 
come. Now divine justice and mercy, shine unmixed and 
clear, in all their awfully glorious splendor. " How long" — 
the humble asked — " how long shall the wicked triumph ;" 
utter hard things, and break in pieces, and afflict thine her- 
itage ? " How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not 
avenge the blood of thy servants," which crieth to thee from 
the ground ? The answer was returned — "He will avenge 
them speedily" : he will bring upon them their own iniquity, 
and cut them off in their wickedness. — "The Lord is not 
slack, as some men count slackness ; but is long suffering.^ 
Now his word is verified. His justice blazes with dreadful 
flame, in recompensing tribulation to them who troubled 
you : his mercy glows with equal brightness, on the heads of 
his anointed, crowned with uninterrupted rest. Now the 
asserted claim is made good — Vengeance is the Lord's, and 



SERMON XV. 



313 



he alone repays. Now you see every wrong which you re- 
ferred to him, redressed. Now, before the Eternal, stand 
the elect avenged. The sins of their enemies, have reached 
to heaven : they entered the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth ; 
they are remembered forever. Mystic Babylon is reward- 
ed, as she rewarded you : unto her is doubled according to 
her works ; and all who refused not, in time, to partake of 
her sins, partake now forever of her plagues. These have 
come in one day. She burns with unconsuming fire : for 
strong and true is the Lord who judgeth her. Now the 
heavens rejoice over her, by divine command ; and all the 
holy Apostles, and Prophets : for God hath avenged them 
on her. 

From this rapidly approaching scene, I turn to the hard- 
est heart in this assembly, and ask, in the name of God, is 
not this enough ? Are you too impatient, to wait the day of 
God for the award of righteousness ? Does the love of justice 
constrain you, to anticipate, in this life, the evils coming on 
the ungodly in the next ? O ! what a heart is that, which 
would wish a single pang inflicted here, on those who are to 
drink up the full measure of divine indignation hereafter. 
Bleed, O compassionate soul ! in view of such a doom, for 
him who loveth not his brother. Stay not to ask, if he be 
stranger, or acquaintance; friend, or foe. Would you have 
an agency in fitting men for such a vengeance ? Beware 
then, dearly beloved ! that you " avenge not yourselves 
and, by an authoritative example, lead others down to the 
chambers of death. " Give place, rather, to wrath that, 
seeing the reality and loveliness of the christian temper, 
others may count its attainment worth the necessary sacri- 
fice. Heap the fire of love, upon the heads of your ene- 
mies : melt their hearts, with coals from the altar of Jehovah 
Jesus ; and save them, if possible, from everlasting burn- 
ings. 



214 



SERMON XV. 



Let Devils and savages, continue- to maintain the doc- 
trine, that revenge is sweet : truth and goodness, sha)l find 
advocates in the disciples of the crucified Lamb. They will 
every where proclaim, in their doctrine and their lives, that 
though it \>e human to return evil for evil ; it is God-like, to 
" overcome evil with good." 

To submit, without resentment, to injury from men, is ne- 
cessary, to fulfil the law of love to men, as well as that of 
piety to God. " Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," 
is an unexceptionable, and perfect, rule of human duty ; 
and, " whatever ye would that they should do to you, do ye 
even so to them," is a paraphrase, the correctness of which, 
none but the atheist will dispute. Suffer me then to ask, if 
ever a man of sound mind, did wish, or could rationally de- 
sire, the punishment from his neighbor, which his injurious 
usage of him has well deserved ? And if not, by what law 
he takes a liberty, which he disallows to him ? You have 
trespassed upon your neighbor's rights ; but deny his right 
to take away yours in turn. You have punished him for 
defrauding you ; but you deny to him the right to retaliate. 
You boast of the chastisement you have inflicted on him ; 
does he rise, in your estimation, by commendation of himself 
for a like victory, gained by him over conscience and you ? 
What blindness and partiality are here ! What unbiassed 
judgment, does not condemn such an operation of the under- 
standing and affections ? Does such a man deserve well of 
his family, and of the public ? Does such obliquity of will 
secure the approbation of God ? Answer as he may to serve 
a purpose, the conscience of ever} 7 man, declares the custom 
of retaliation inconsistent with the law of love : for " love," 
sa\s the pen of Jehovah, " worketh no ill to his neighbor." 
If the affections of the heart, correspond with the decisions 
of the mind, it will be, of consequence, the habitual language 
of us all — wickedness proceedeth from the wicked, but my 



SERMON XV. 



215 



hand shall not be upon him : I hate the work of them who 
turn aside to lies : I abhor their conduct, and the disposition 
from which it proceeds ; but this lessens not my obligation, 
to wish that disposition changed ; and to employ the means 
of divine prescription — expostulation and prayer — for this 
end ; and to treat them kindly, whether successful or not ; 
and, having done this, to leave their judgment with him to 
whom vengeance belongs. 

The whole system of retaliation, proceeds from a spirit of 
insubordination to God, the want of faith in his perfections 
and government, and a heart, destitute of every benevolent 
desire for the good of our enemies. Specious and plausible, 
as may be the arguments of some ingenious advocates of 
this system, they vanish into thin air, at the touch of the 
hallowed prohibition — thou shalt not do evil that good may 
come. It is admitted, that the welfare of society requires 
the punishment of some trespasses upon our rights, for which 
the laws make no provision. But shall an unauthorized in- 
dividual, avenge the wrongs of a community, (for his own 
wrongs, by the very terms, are now out of the question) who 
have the power in their own hands ? Who has required it at 
his hands ? That community is not incapable of legislating 
for itself, which protects each member. Such a procedure, 
therefore, is an offence against society. It is of the very na- 
ture of rebellion against the government. It has its origin, 
in the arrogant, ambitious, and disorganizing spirit of 
David's son — " O that I were made judge in the land f 9 that 
every injured citizen might bring his suit to me, and I would 
do him justice. Mistaken zeal, which issues in disgraceful 
death ; and leaves an affectionate father, to mourn that he 
had not died in his behalf. The righteous providence of 
God, in the calamity inflicted for this sin, has left on history, 
a lesson for man, more impressive than statutes written in 
ink; or engraved on tables of stone. It is indeed true, and 



216 



SERMON XY. 



a deplorable proof of human weakness, and insufficiency, 
that the laws of civil society, afford but a partial protection 
to the virtuous ; and an inadequate defence, against the law- 
less and disobedient. But the law of God, not private in- 
terpretations of human reason, is given us, to supply the de- 
ficiency. What if ye do well, and still suffer from the injus- 
tice of man ! even hereunto were ye called : for Christ also 
suffered, the just for the unjust, leaving us an example that 
we should follow his steps. And that no doubt might re- 
main to us, concerning the fruits of genuine benevolence, we 
are explicitly taught, that thus to suffer without resentment, 
is acceptable virtue with God. Only the most deplorable 
blindness in man, could render necessary, so many pre- 
cepts upon precept, and lines upon line, to render intelligi- 
ble and plain, the duties arising out of the law of love : and 
it is only, because there is among mankind so little faith in 
a future judgment, and its consequences, that the public sen- 
timent is so grossly corrupt on the subject of retaliation. 
We walk by sight, and not by faith ; or we are not joined 
with those conspirators against human happiness, who toler- 
ate the practice. For every act of retaliation, is a libel on 
our heavenly lawgiver — because it is a direct infraction of 
the statutes of his kingdom. Compare the sentiments and 
conduct of the men of the world — men of honor — men of 
spirit — and their rules of action towards offenders — with 
those of Jesus Christ. Listen to their descriptions of hon- 
orable principles — their manly pride — their genuine brave- 
ry — their terms of satisfaction for insult, and outrage — their 
exactions of what is due to their character — and then go to 
mount Olivet, for the contrast. What is the language of 
the Preacher there ? " Blessed are the poor in spirit" — " the 
meek" — "the peacemakers" — the falsely reported for the gos- 
pel's sake. Examine now the spoil of their victories — the 
blood-stained, and blood-bought insignia of their virtues — 



SERMON XV. 



217 



and say if it be possible, that they either fear God or regard 
man, if they have expected to be judged by the laws of 
Christ, for their affections to the one, or their treatment of 
the other. — Say also, from whose principles, it is meanness 
and cowardice to shrink — his, who, from a generous superi- 
ority to the wrongs of his fellow men, returns good for evil; 
or his, who, in contempt of Jehovah's favor, and regardless 
of his brother's welfare, demands eye for eye, and blood for 
blood — reckless of the wife's subsistence, and the orphan's 
tears — to wipe off an aspersion on his character, or avenge 
an indignity offered to his person, or his dog 1* No, my 
brethren ! in no species of retaliation, from the highest, to 
the lowest — from that which is accounted honorable, to that 
which is admitted to be despicable — has the wisdom, or be- 
nevolence from above, any share of influence. The moment 
our actions partake of this holy character, they are honored 
of God, and virtuous minds, with the name of philanthropy, 
or public spirit ; and cease either to deserve the name, or 
possess the nature, of revenge ; but are identified with the 
streams of that vivifying river, which proceeds from the 
throne of God Almighty, and the Lamb. Good will to man, 
may consist with a desire, that the wicked should suffer un- 
der legitimate authority, the due reward of their deeds, when 
it becomes necessary to the public interest ; but can never 
take a step, in concerting measures to wound them, merely 
because they have injured us. Genuine benevolence is 
without dissimulation : it is kindly affectioned : it is patient 
in tribulation : it rejoices with them who rejoice, and weeps 
with them who weep : it is conciliatory with enemies ; and 
disposed, as far as possible, to live peaceably with all men : 

* In the expression, " his person or his dog," the author may perhaps al- 
lude to an affair of honor, between Colonel Montgomery and Captain 
Macnamara ; which originated in the fighting of their dogs, and terminat- 
ed in the murder of Colonel Montgomery ! An account of this very honor- 
able transaction may be found in the Christian Observer for April 1803. 

- 28 



213 



SERMON XV. 



it endures personal affronts, and leaves such as will not be 
reclaimed, to the judgment of God. This is the charity, 
which surpasses science, and prophecy, and tongues — which 
shall flourish, while the great globe itself dissolves ; and 
bloom, and bear, and bless, when Faith shall have offered 
her last sacrifice, and Hope dropped anchor under the walls 
of the celestial city. 

3. The reasonableness of the duty to which the Apostle 
exhorts us, is evinced, in the last place, by its obvious ten- 
dency to promote personal tranquillity, and peace of mind. 
Men do not ordinarily avenge themselves in cool blood ; nor 
is it always an easy task, to fix upon the time, the place, the 
mode of redress. The mind in the mean time, like the vol- 
canic mountain before it disgorges its fires, is full of commo- 
tion. He who is bent on revenge, plots on his bed the mea- 
sures by which the slanderer is to atone for his offence, by 
which the knave is to be made to suffer for his dishonesty, 
and the ungrateful to be stung in return by his resentment. 
He sleeps not till he has done the mischief; he has no re- 
pose, till he has made his enemy to fall. But the very pas- 
sions which are thus engaged in conflict, till the purpose is 
fixed, till the blow is struck, till the foe is debased, are dis- 
quieting and tormenting. And who can describe the remorse 
which he is preparing himself to suffer, when the vengeance 
is inflicted — when reason and cool reflection resume their 
throne, and the suggestions of wisdom and prudence take, at 
too late a period, the place of the dictates of rage ? And 
how often does the disapprobation of the judicious, and the 
indignation of partizans which follow, embitter still more the 
remembrance of the deed, and add to his self-inflicted 
wounds, those of an hundred tongues or pens dipped in gall. 
Christian benevolence on the contrar}', bears, in its fruits, its 
own reward. It needs not the commendations of the crowd ; 
its own conscious integrity sustains and soothes it. The tes- 



SERMON XV. 



219 



tlmony of a conscience void of offence to God and man, is 
itself an Atlas — erect under the pressure of a world. "The 
spirit of a man may sustain his infirmity, but a wounded 
spirit who can bear." Innocence has a refuge at hand, from 
the abuse of others ; but the recollection of injuries inflicted, 
is, to an ingenuous mind, intolerable. Having his conscience 
awakened, to execute the duties of his office, he has only 
added to the reproach of which he sought to disburthen 
himself; and, in repairing his imaginary honor, he has un- 
dermined the very foundation on which humanity is built : 
for it is the glory of man to pass by a transgression. 

Is he a christian, who has thus, by conformity to the 
world, fallen from his high estate ? How serious is his 
loss — how aggravated his wo I He has betrayed his trust ; 
and in his attempt to approach the throne of grace, meets a 
repulse, like that of the Sanhedrim's band, who, at the very 
sight of the Saviour's face, "went backward and fell to the 
ground." The word of him who is thus sought by prayer, 
is like a thunderbolt — "whom seek ye r" — Do ye seek the 
God of mercy — ye who have showed no mercy ? He has no 
rest in his bones, because of his sin. He has grieved the 
spirit of love ; and repentance must precede the light of that 
countenance which only gives health, and which never 
smiled upon transgression. Does he lisp before God, the 
desire to be forgiven, as he forgives f His conscience be- 
trays the lie as soon as it is uttered. While thus mocking 
his maker, darkness and perplexity cover his path ; and his 
heart, torn and divided with opposing claims, can meet 
neither a forgiving God, nor an injured brother, without the 
blush of shame. O ! how much better to be of a humble 
spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud ! 
Look a moment at his course, and see its end. "This poor 
man cried, and the Lord heard, and delivered him out of all 
his troubles." He has chosen rather to suffer for well-doing, 



SERMON XV. 



than offend God. He has been injured much, and threat- 
ened nothing. He has been reviled, but reviled not again. 
The archers have shot at him, but his bow abode in its 
strength, and his hand remained strong : he committed him- 
self, and them, to God who judgeth righteously. He is a 
man of like passions with others ; he has felt, like other men, 
a conflict between corruption and his better part; his spirit 
was stirred within him, and the fire burned. But he felt 
himself a debtor to grace : he perceived at a glance the ex- 
cellence of the law of his God t he saw and admired, its per- 
fect exemplification in his Redeemer. At such a moment, 
his soul burns to be like him, to honor him, to live and act 
to the same end, for which he stooped and died. His heart 
is melted for his enemy ; his soul catches the inspiration 
breathing from the cross ; he goes to the altar of God with 
exceeding joy, and "without partiality and without hypoc- 
risy," cries, "Father forgive." He has triumphed over 
corruption : the sun has not gone down upon his wrath : he 
lies down to rest in sweet serenity, and with gratitude to 
God who has given him the victory ; and whether he awake 
in this world or another, with such a temper he awakes in 
Christ's likeness, and is satisfied. What though he be a 
poor, unnoticed, unbefriended pilgrim, and a stranger in the 
world ! What though he has no shields, or swords, or scars 
—no trophies of the victors of this world ! He has the fa- 
vorable notice of "the high and lofty One who inhabiteth 
eternity and in this, a source of gratification greater than 
the mighty, and in the subjection of his spirit to him, a 
glory richer fraught with inward and permanent satisfaction, 
than his who takeih a city. He has achieved a conquest 
over his sinful propensities ; he has advanced a little in the 
honors and the field of christian warfare ; and, though there 
may remain " very much land to be possessed," by patient 
continuance in well-doing, he shall come off more than con- 



SERMON XV. 221 

queror at last, and, through him who has loved him, sit down 
on the throne of perfect self-government, and of his peace 
there shall be no end. Dearly beloved, avenge not your- 
selves ; but rather, for the joy set before you, give place unto 
wrath ; for it is written, Vengeance and recompense are the 
Lord's. Judge now of yourselves, if to exercise a temper 
and practice productive of a good so vast, so extensive, so 
endless, so uncorrupt, be not indeed your reasonable ser- 
vice.* 

III. The application of the subject is necessary, in the 
last place, both to fulfil the promise made at the beginning, 
and to correct false views of the character of mankind. 

If the ground taken in this discourse be correct, it cannot 
but be obvious that Christianity, in principle and in spirit, has 
as yet made but little progress^] the world ; and that the 
true church of Christ is a very "little flock." The spirit of 
resentment pervades all the various classes and ranks of 
men, in our own, and every other nation. We are not, in- 
deed, infallibly taught the actual state and habitual temper 
of man, by a single act of any kind ; but deliberate, avowed 
retaliation, systematically planned, and perseveringly pur- 
sued, warrants us in pronouncing its authors, the children of 
hell. 

It becomes us, therefore, with the utmost impartiality and 
seriousness, to enquire, of what manner of spirit we ourselves 
are. We have seen that what " is highly esteemed among 
men, is abomination in the sight of God." We have seen 

* In the preceding discourse I have taken it for granted throughout , 
that all men against whom the vindictive spirit, or the hand of retaliation 
is raised, are deserving of all the injury which the avenger seeks to inflict. 
But in a great proportion of cases probably, they are not intentionally 
guilty at all ; and in still more, perhaps, their crime is too deeply colored 
by the pride of self-consequence, and an exasperated mind. How much 
more irrational then, the meditated or inflicted punishment ? How baseless 
the fabric, on which the avenger seeks to rear his justification, even on 
worldly principles ? And if on these he cannot be defended, on those of 
cKristianity how aggravated before God must his iniquity appear I 



222 



SERMON XV. 



that the nobility of heaven, differs essentially from that which 
monopolizes the claim, and engrosses the honor in this 
world. We behold the one, sought, envied, courted, at the 
sacrifice of " that honor which cometh from God." The 
other, despised and rejected, except by here and there a 
Moses, refusing to be called the Prince's heir, and prefer- 
ring the reproach of Christ to the bubble reputation. The 
one, is arrayed in silken or golden decorations, covered with 
a drapery after the fashion of this world which passeth 
away ; the other, is beautiful and lovely, only to the eye of 
faith ; and lives only on things invisible, but lives forever. 

Beloved hearer ! is your heart, as well as judgment, on 
the side of God, or of the world ? Do you burn with the fires 
of revenge, or with the fire of love ? Do you secretly con- 
trive, or even wish, to retaHate every injury ; to see your 
oppressor, or the assassin of j our reputation, fall ? Or does 
your closet witness, does your conscience testify, does your 
Law-giver and Judge, perceive in your bosoms, the love to 
your friend which seeks his repentance ; the good will to 
your enemy which forgives his trespasses, and leaves his 
name and person inviolate, and his judgment and recompense 
with his God ? 

Does ingratitude provoke your resentment, or your pity ? 
Does the recollection of the injuries you have suffered from 
men, excite the vindictive wish that they may be punished, 
or the holy desire that they may be reformed ? Are 
there recorded against your names, in the registry of 
heaven, any deeds of kindness towards the adversaries of 
your enjoyment, who have sought to filch from you the 
earnings of uprightness ? Among the tears of christian re- 
gret, which have been shed over hard-hearted and cruel 
Jerusalem — tears which angels gather up and preserve, and 
which God himself accounts too precious to be lost — is there 
one, which can identify you as a member of his body wh© 



SERMON XV. 



223 



wept over that devoted city ? God knoweth. The secrets of 
our hearts are with him, and he will judge us, according to 
our works. The day of his redeemed makes haste, the 
hour of separation approaches ; and who — who among us — 
for the momentary, the paltry gratifications of a malicious 
heart, will forego the transports of the man, who, in that 
hour, shall find himself on Christ's right hand ! For, as God 
is true, he shall never taste that joy, who hateth his brother 
in his heart. 

Will you reason with me, implacable man ! and tell me 
you have sought shelter in that faith by which the ungodly 
are justified ? But you show me }^our faith, without the 
works which faith produces. — " The Devils also believe and 
tremble." Your faith is dead at the root. Do you insist 
upon a/ree salvation ? God fort^id a sinner should look for 
any other : but remember you are saved, neither freely, nor 
at all, unless you are saved from sin. "If any man have not 
the spirit of Christ," he is not owned of Christ ; and his was 
not a spirit, which prompted him either to disobedience to 
God, or cruel suspicion and retaliation towards men. 

Brethren ! the springs of human action lie deep. In 
searching for them, stop not at throwing off the surface. Dig 
deep, or they will escape your observation : analyze them 
carefully when found. There is a healing quality, in those 
waters which flow from the life-giving spirit of Jesus Christ. 
The waters which he gives are a living spring ; they are 
running waters ; they fructify the moral fields through which 
they flow ; they issue in eternal life. Mistake not their na- 
ture : such mistake in this life, will prove fatal in that which 
is to come. Destitute of the essential property to which we 
have adverted, it will be too late to seek to supply it when 
arrived there. It may now be had : its infusion will render 
the very waters of Mara sweet. Do you thirst for it . ? I 
hear the well known voice of Saul's deliverer reply— In the 



224 



SERMON XV. 



midst of men, breathing out threatening and slaughter 
against even the righteous, it responds — " If any man thirst, 
let him come unto me, and drink." It is the voice, mali- 
cious man ! of Jesus, whom thou persecutest : for inasmuch 
as ye do it to the least of his disciples, ye do it unto him. 
O ! for an effect on every 'heart, like that produced on the 
carnal zealot of Tarsus ! Let it arrest every implacable 
spirit, and produce anew, the humble enquiry, " Lord, what 
would'st thou have me to do ?' ? 



SERMON XVI. 



THE GUILT AND DANGER OF SCANDALIZING SOULS. 

Luke, xvii. 1. 2. 

Then said he unto the disciples, it is impossible but that offences 
will come : but wo unto him by whom they come ! It were better 
for Mm that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he 
cast into the sea 9 than that he should offend one of these little 
ones. 

When Jesus Christ forewarned his disciples of his cruel 
sufferings and disgraceful death, Peter, under the influence 
of an incautious zeal, and disappointed tenderness, said 
" this shall not be unto thee" — tempting the Saviour to shun, 
that cross, which is the power and wisdom of God unto sal- 
vation. And this, hearer ! is the sin, against which you are 
so pathetically, and terribly admonished in the text. And 
though there are three classes of men on whom this wo pre- 
eminently rests, we shall not venture to restrict its applica- 
tion to the persecutors of christians, and the scandalous and 
hypocritical professor. It belongs to every man, who ? 
29 



226 



SERMON XVI. 



through defect of principle, renders the cross of Christ a 
stumbling block and an offence, to those for whom he died. 
To the aggravated character of this sin, our Lord has not 
failed to give his testimony, by shewing that it is diabolical 
in its nature, and therefore, like the punishment of it in 
Devils, dreadful in its consequences. No sooner did he 
perceive the nature of Peter's advice, as opposing the plan 
of God for our salvation, than his indignation burst forth 
upon the presumptuous adviser, in the most tremendous re- 
proof which ever fell upon him from those benignant lips. 
" Get thee behind me, Satan ; thou art an offence to me ; 
for thou savourest not the things which be of God." He is 
indeed the adversary of God and man, who, by the tendency 
of his counsel or example, persuades his neighbor to spare 
himself a cross for Christ's sake and the gospel's. His sug- 
gestions imply, not only a criminal defect of principle, but 
an unholy origin. They strike at the very foundation of re- 
ligion, and therefore involve the deepest criminality. You 
perceive then, that what in the text is called an offence, is 
not merely a trespass — a wound given to a man's sensibility 
or honor — but a stab to his religion. It is the becoming a 
snare to his soul — a doing somewhat to lead him to avoid 
the cross, to depart from righteousness, to deny Christ. It 
is a scandalizing the disciple to his fall — a betraying him 
into some error doctrinal, experimental, or practical, of 
ruinous tendency. In the words of an Apostle, it is any thing 
by which thy brother is stumbled or made weak. And you 
will observe that this a sin, in which a man may become a 
partaker, by heedlessness and ignorance, as well as by pre- 
meditation and contempt of religion. For the statutes of 
God bind us to edify, and promote the salvation of our neigh- 
bour : whereas, by unholy counsel, and a wicked exam- 
ple, we become the occasion of his vices and his perdition 



SERMON XVI. 227 

Pursuing the order of the text, I shall show you, first, 
that there is a necessity for this, and whence it comes : 

Secondly, that it is a great sin, and deserves reprobation : 

Thirdly, that it is a common sin, and that our danger from 
this source requires great circumspection. 1 

I. First then, the necessity of scandal, and whence it 
arises : for said he who knew, " it must needs be that scan- 
dals come" — it is impossible but that they should come. 
The necessity of sinning, is a moral necessity only ; and the 
offence caused, is likewise of a moral nature. It arises, of 
consequence, from, the contrariety of our inclination to holi- 
ness ; from the alienation of the heart from God ; and the 
opposition of man's wishes to the law of benevolence. If I 
thrust my hand into a flame to disable me from labor, it is 
as necessarily burned, as if it had been done by force. The 
action is voluntary, and therefore criminal : the physical 
arises from the moral necessity. It is as unavoidable that 
an enemy of God should hate the gospel, as that a nauseated 
stomach should loathe and reject wholesome food. The 
carnal mind is prejudiced against the truth : this is its con- 
demnation : it is the grand reason why it prefers darkness to 
light. It is also, undiscerning of moral fitness ; and for this, 
the cross is either a stumbling block or foolishness. But 
what we dislike and oppose ourselves, we naturally desire 
others to dislike also. Our ignorance and prejudice, if they 
operate beyond our own bosoms, must operate to scandalize 
our fellow men. Acting with consistency, our self-love leads 
us to do for others, so far as they make part of ourselves, 
whatever it has done for us. If our sin, therefore, necessa- 
rily lead us to blind our own minds, and harden our own 
hearts, it must lead to the same effect, on all whose opin- 
ions and conduct are controlled by our counsel and example^ 
Just as necessarily then as sin does mischief to our own souls, 
it tends to make havoc of other men's ; and if any sinful ac* 



223 



SERMON XVI. 



tion of ours make our brother to offend, then is it necessary 
(we continuing to sin) that he should be scandalized ; or that 
an occasion of his sinning be found in us. Considering 
then, the natural opposition of the heart to the peculiarities 
of the christian religion, it is impossible but that offences 
should come. God, we are aware, has a rein upon the pro- 
pensities of the evil heart, and restrains them in a degree, 
that the world should be preserved from entire desolation ; 
that the church should not be disbanded ; that the human 
race should not become extinct. But it is not his pleasure 
to restrain human device and purpose in such degree, as to 
prevent an exhibition of our affections, or of the tendency^of 
our volitions : and until this be done, the world will una- 
voidably allure and entice those around them to sin. They 
must, of necessity, take part with Christ, or against him; 
and offer tribute to his kingdom, or scandalize its members 
to his dishonor. Occasions of stumbling, then, must ever 
exist, until all the people of the world become righteous, 
and the blessedness of them who are not offended in him, be 
strictly universal. 

The same necessity that laid upon Cain to slay his broth- 
er ; upon the Jews to crucify the Son of God ; upon the 
Roman Emperors, end all persecutors, to promote christian 
martyrdom, now exists for the scandal of the cross, and ren- 
ders certain and inevitable the offences predicted ; and equal- 
ly necessary, does the love of God to his people and to jus- 
tice, render the execution of the threatened wo. It is of this 
moral necessity the Saviour speaks, when he says, "the 
world will love its own and "no man can serve two mas- 
ters," but "will hold to the one and despise the other." 
Whoever hates Christianity, must hate christian influence, 
and counteract its effects on himself and others, in all the ex- 
tent in which it is odious to him. Saul while an unbeliever, 
sought to overthrow the faith, and as necessarily to establish 



SERMON XVI. 



229 



it after his conversion. Men of corrupt minds withstood 
Moses, became seducers, and laid snares for Israel's ruin. 
The sorcerer, in like manner, laboured to turn away the 
Proconsul from the faith, by perverting the word of God. 
Scandals then are necessary, just so far as a wicked man 
acts without restraint in the feelings and wishes of his heart ; 
and this constrained the Apostle to express a fear to one of 
the churches, that as the serpent beguiled Eve, false teach- 
ers should beguile its members of their christian simplicity. 
Is any man's ear turned from the truth unto fables — his ex- 
ample becomes a snare to those who witness it. Were there 
within the bounds of the church, unruly and vain talkers — 
they necessarily withstood the wholesome words of the 
Apostle ; and if the one established, the others subverted the 
truth. As among the ancients, said Peter, there were false 
prophets, so shall there be among you — teachers denying 
the Lord who bought them, bringing in damnable heresies, 
and on themselves destruction ; and many shall follow their 
evil ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be vili- 
fied. The nature of this necessity then must be obvious : 
since (as the preceding examples shew) from that constitu- 
tion of God by which every seed produces its own kind, ev- 
ery fountain sends forth streams of the self-same quality. It 
is not the necessity of the fatalist — implying involuntary ef- 
fects from involuntary causes — but the impossibility of a 
free agent's willing contradictions ; and extends alike to the 
creature and to God. 

II. Having shown the nature of scandal, and whence it 
comes, I am to evince, in the second place, how great is the 
sin, and how T dreadful its deserts. He who takes away my 
life, only puts an end to my doing this generation good or 
harm; but he who corrupts my religious principles, poisons 
the morals of the generation, and makes me a murderer of 
souls. Nor does it affect the reality of this truth, that this 



230 



SERMON XVI. 



sin has many shapes. We may prejudice the soul against 
the gospel and its author as we will, but whether it be by 
raillery or terror, wit or sophistry, by inculcating falsehood 
or concealing essential truths, by persecution or flattery, by 
counsel or example, by teaching corrupt doctrines, or draw- 
ing pernicious inferences from premises which are true, the 
effect is the same — a soul is murdered — and if the destruc- 
tion of the life of the body deserves indignation, and proves 
the murderer destitute of religious life, what can be a retri- 
bution for him who betrays a soul to death — who, by poison- 
ing the principles of his holiness of life, procures his immor- 
tal loss ! Only the eternal God can save a soul, but way fool 
can destroy one ; and especially, if he have a fool for his 
disciple. And who that loves iniquity, deserves a better 
name, or possesses a worthier character ? If the beginning 
of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, irreverence for religion is 
the exaltation of folly. But worthless as he is, and insignifi- 
cant as he may be. and inefficacious as shall be his attempts, 
at mischief, yet God accounts him a murderer, and one too 
of no ordinary kind, inasmuch as the blood of his fellow 
sinner first, and next that of Jesus Christ, shall be required 
at his hand. Wo to that man then, by whom the scandal 
cometh. Better far, uever to have been, better an untimely, 
birth, or an untimely and violent death. 

First, the blood of his brother's soul, in the way of whose 
salvation he laid the stumbling block, shall be required of 
him. For be the consequences what they may, God judges 
of actions by their nature and tendency, and these are such 
in the case before us, as are eminently calculated to destroy 
the soul, by diverting it from the pathway of life : and if 
this effect do not follow, the thanks are due, not to him who 
tempts his neighbor, nor to the neighbor who is tempted, 
but to God, whose interposition alone prevented the calamity. 
I know it will be said that sin and guilt are personal things, 



SERMON XVI. 



231 



and that no man can answer for another's iniquity. I admit 
it, and yet one man may be the criminal occasion of another's 
ruin. If not, why at the hand of the false Prophet, should 
God require the blood of the unwarned ? Think then of the 
enormity of the crime we contemplate — How literally dia- 
bolical, how easily committed, how serious its consequences ! 
Think of the insinuating child who seduces his parents, the 
parent who leads his children, the husband who inclines 
his wife, and the individual who influences his friend, to 
venture on the fruit forbidden of God. — How malignant 
that heart, how grievous and interminable the fruit of that 
malignity ! How poor the wretched deceiver, how pitiable 
the deluded sufferer ! The former leads an immortal spirit 
into sin, and sin leads down its victim to the chambers of 
death. O ! to be the death of a soul destined to exist for- 
ever — how revolting to humanity, as well as religion, the 
thought I Measure the duration of that soul. You have no 
measure for eternity ! Weigh the value of that soul's sal- 
vation. — But what standard weight have you for the trial, 
when Christ, and heaven, and all that God has done for it, 
are in the opposite scale ? When you shall have compre- 
hended the preciousness of Christ and heavenly joys, you 
will have found the counterpoise, But observe, what I have 
said of one soul, is applicable to every other, of whatever 
place, name, station or family. It is infinite good you take 
away, or infinite evil you procure for him. Mark the inti- 
mation of his Saviour — " one of those little ones." You 
have not caused a Newton, or a Horsely to fall ; you have 
not access to the dwellings of the great, or influence over 
the mighty and the noble ; you are too insignificant, per- 
haps, to persuade them to be of your opinion, or to follow 
your example. But over the members of your own associ- 
tion, the young, or some stranger who is ignorantly led by 
the first man he meets, and who is glad to find a friend un- 



232 



SERMON XVI. 



der any disguise — over those, you have some influence to 
their undoing. And it is a fearful thought, that it is a soul 
for whom Christ died, that you corrupt by your false max- 
ims, or blasphemous, or irreligious life ; and therefore your 
sin is nothing the less, because it is not a princely family 
you make to weep over his bier. No matter how little you 
are, in the sight of men or God, provided you have mis- 
chievous consequence enough to beguile one unstable soul, 
and teach him to avoid or contemn the cross of Christ : for 
this is the grand instrument of perdition or salvation to us 
all. Be you, or he who is duped by you, never so mean, 
and vile, and worthless, God has a claim on you both, of in- 
describable magnitude ; and both are capable of answering 
that claim, and of perishing for refusing practically to ac- 
knowledge it. Both are his offspring; for both a plenteous 
redemption price has been offered ; and what is not precious 
in his sight, which has been so valued of him, whom you ac- 
count still meaner than yourself? Take your judgment of 
its spirit's worth from the character of its offered Saviour, 
and say if it were not better to have been drowned in the 
depth of the sea, than to have filched it from his crown. 

I said it was a diabolical sin. — And who did Jesus Christ 
declare to have been such a murderer from the beginning? 
Who entered Paradise for no other purpose than to deceive 
the woman ? Who has ever since been alluring ambitious 
men, by the prospect of being as Gods, to deny God ; and 
thrown in the way of their conversion the most insuperable 
obstacles, by withdrawing their minds from the most painful 
but necessary truths ? And what individual whose charac- 
ter Christ has traced in the text, does not the same thing ? 
Does not every such man minister to his neighbour's vanity, 
pamper his lusts, add fuel to his passions, impose on his cre- 
dulity, soothe his guilty conscience, and by practising upon 
his imagination and his senses, lead him into the haunts and 



SERMON XVI. 



233 



the strong holds of vice, under the name of a friend to inno- 
cent pastime, and rational gratification ? But whatever di- 
verts the mind from knowledge, truth and duty, obstructs 
man's salvation ; and in thus diverting the mind, under the 
pretext of promoting its happiness, you use the same decep- 
tion with the murderer of Eden, and by lies make him to 
transgress, who, by means of the truth, might have escaped 
the snare : and such truth the law of love bound you to ren- 
der familiar, and as far as possible, attractive and pleasant to 
his soul. Now if he who winneth souls is wise, what is the 
converse ? And if he who converts a sinner from the error 
of his ways, saves from death, is not that man lost to every 
thing of the nature of charity, who not only withdraws from 
such a sinner the best means of salvation, but allures him to 
the very dungeon of sin ? He who thus hateth his brother 
is a murderer ; and the charity which rejoices in his success, 
is the charity of a murderer. What then is the aggravation 
of this sin ? It neglects the first effort of love, and going 
over to the opposite ranks, with diabolical malignity, per- 
suades a man to turn out of the narrow way into the ranks 
of death. Is there "joy in heaven over one sinner that re- 
pented," and no indignation on earth in view of an agency 
which suffers not itself to go in, and hinders them who would 
enter , ? Shall he who turns many to righteousness, shine 
(for this honored instrumentality) as the stars of yonder fir- 
mament forever — and is not the blackness of darkness re- 
served for him, who would turn even the upright from his 
righteousness ? 

But we shall not arrive at just views of the enormity of 
this sin, till we consider, that he who commits it, is virtually 
the betrayer and crucifier of Christ, as well as of his fellow- 
sinner. Why is the Jew to this day, held to have pierced 
the Son of God, but because he labours to defeat the end of 
the christian redemption ? And what is there in the sin of 
30 



234 



SERMON XVI. 



a son of Abraham, which is transmuted into a virtue the mo- 
ment it enters the heart of a christian? Neither the one nor 
the other, we agree, can actually frustrate the purpose of 
God 4 yet both may do it intentionally : both therefore are 
charged with the consequences of having done it actually. 
Say then, for what Christ was put to death by Jews and 
Romans, and you have on your lips the proof, that he who 
scandalizes one of the least of his disciples, crucifies the Son 
of God afresh, and gives him up to shame. He acts over 
the tragic impiety of charging him with imposture, and in- 
curs the same guilt. His actions bespeak the same feelings 
towards him and his religion. Besides, it is his own maxim, 
that what is done to one of these little ones, is done to him. 
The ruin of man is no trivial affair ; yet it is nothing, com- 
pared with the reflection on the Redeemer which is involved 
in procuring it. It is virtually repeating the blasphemy, 
that he was judicially stricken — that his sufferings were not 
vicarious — or that they were unavailing to the end proposed. 
It is taking the well-earned spoil out of his hand — the cap- 
tive from the train of his deliverer. And if all his disciples 
were scandalized, when Judas betrayed him into the hands of 
his enemies, although to them the consequences were not fa- 
tal, then, though the modern disciple be not finally lost, the 
same wo falls on him through whom a similar scandal 
cometh : and to deceive, discourage, or prejudice him 
against his Redeemer, is to be guilty of the same crime for 
which his murderers have been a hissing, and a proverb, and 
a curse unto this day. 

And is any revealed penalty too heavy for him, who, in 
view of a present gratification, or even an eternal triumph, 
can hold up to derision, in the person of his disciple, the 
Lord of glory f To wound a brother's conscience, remem- 
ber, is to sin against Christ. Surely the plague of one's 
own heart is enough, without any of our helps, to make his 



SERMON XVI. 



235 



cross a stumbling block to them who perish ; and it needs 
all our wisdom, and charity, and self-denial, and cheerful 
and patient labour, and more than all, to cause its offence to 
cease. How inglorious, then, the persevering effort, to ren- 
der it an insurmountable barrier to our neighbour's salva- 
tion ! And if he dies without mercy who persuades men to 
revolt from Moses, of how much sorer punishment should 
he be thought worthy, who teaches men to trample on the 
blood of the Son of God, or count it a common and ineffec- 
tual thing ! 

III. And yet, in the last place, it is so common a sin, that 
our danger of falling into it, requires an admonition to holy 
and constant circumspection. No man, I am aware, com- 
mences his career in life with the specific purpose of preju- 
dicing Christianity, or ruining the hopes of its disciples. 
No woman deliberately forms a design of leading her guests 
into the depths of hell. But many a man, and many a 
woman, has been the occasion of this transcendant sin ; and 
whoever shall find at last, that such have been the direct 
and necessary tendency and effect of their conversation and 
conduct, will hear their protestations of innocence, opposed 
by the cries of all, who, through their pernicious influence, 
have died in their iniquity. Those souls will testify, as did 
the blood of Abel against his brother, that this man, and 
that woman were their murderers. It was because you nev- 
er discountenanced my destructive habits, but encouraged 
me by your example, that I continued in fatal error, and 
lost my soul. It was because you sought to please, and 
not to profit me ; because you, whom I looked to as a guide, 
corrupted instead of labouring to purify me. You pronoun- 
ced innocent, those opinions which led me to relax my ef- 
forts — those amusements which entranced, and those em- 
ployments which led me imperceptibly from my devotion to 
God, and brought me finally to shame. You taught me to 




£36 SERMON XVI. 

treat strict conformity to christian precept as superstition, 
and hatred to popular errors as a prejudice of education. 
You prevailed over my scruples of conscience, and learned 
me effectually to deny the God that is above. You taught 
me the inefficacy of good works, seeing a man is justified on- 
ly by faith ; and left me indifferent to the reality and nature 
of my faith, because good men differed in their views of 
christian doctrine. Thus will lost souls criminate their lead- 
ers and accomplices in sin, and many will first learn the ex- 
tent of their mischievous influence in prejudicing each other 
against the gospel, in those mutual criminations. But if 
these things, treated now with much indifference, actually 
become an occasion of men's perdition, and of an irretrieva- 
ble mistake to those who walk by each other's side, then to 
one another men will owe their destruction. 

What is there more forcible than right words ? Yet when 
you have seen your neighbour fattening like the ox for the 
slaughter, you have not afforded him even your advice ; 
and he has inferred from your silence, that you, reputed a 
virtuous man, must have thought him in the way to heaven. 
Thus by the scandals of omission and neglect, as well as 
those of profane counsel and wicked example, thousands are 
led on in a course of iniquity, till it is too late to undeceive 
them. And it is because the ruin is so gradual and imper- 
ceptible, that we do not shudder at the thought of its com- 
monness, or perhaps never think at all either of sharing in 
the sin, or partaking of its plagues. How few are there, 
who seem aware, that it is not enough that we do not our- 
selves fall into gross sins, but that we are required also to 
save others from them, with fear plucking them out of the 
fire ; and above all, that we do not by any means cause them 
to err ! 

But who are they, thus in danger — thus needing a cau<- 
tion to greater circumspection ? Who are they, thus era- 



SERMON XVI. 



231 



barked with the great adversary in plunging men into de- 
struction and perdition ? Lead me to that father, who, by 
his praverless and ungodly life, teaches his children to be 
ashamed of the gospel of Christ, that I may seasonably say 
to him — "thou art the man." Lead me to that mother, who 
turns over her children to a hireling, for all their instruction 
in the duties of religion, that she may indulge herself in the 
pleasures of the world, that without any false complaisance, 
I may say to her — it is you, madam, dead while you live, 
who are to hear one day, in the bitterness of your soul, that 
the wo was meant for you. It is you, servant of Mammon 1 
who say to all around you in your haste to be rich, that the 
Son of God mistook the one thing needful. It is you, fool- 
ish talker, and jester at the mysteries of the cross, corrupt- 
ing the unwary by your boast of a better, a more enlighten- 
ed Christianity. It is you, wise man, disputer of this world, 
who, contemning the sensibility of an awakened conscience, 
teach it to put away the fears of hell, and the threats of God, as 
childish weakness ; and the thoughts of eternity, as unsuited 
to the gaiety of youth, and learn your victim to "make a 
mock at sin." It is you, opposer of the work of the Holy 
Spirit, who, by an affected morality destructive of all the 
principles of the gospel, sacrifice the soul to the spirit of 
pride, and the spirit of the world. Above all, it is you, 
minister of Jesus Christ, who lower down the standard of 
religion and morals, by keeping out of sight and out of 
mind, the spirit of truth as opposed to the spirit of error ; 
and who, instead of being the savour and the light of soci- 
ety, are the very patron and apology of its tastelessness and 
darkness. And thus it happens, that in a world lying in 
wickedness, they who are most sacredly bound to become 
its guides and reformers, are but blind leaders of the blind. 

Be not surprised then, christians ! that our Lord has ad- 
monished his professed disciples, and even his ministers,. 



I 



233 SERMON XVI. 

thus. Be astonished rather, the sin being thus common and 
thus great, that you are so incautious in the advice you give, 
and so insensible of your neglect in that you fail to give ; 
so little watchful over your tongue, your manners, your 
morals, your doctrines, your very air and temper, in the 
most ordinary, as well as sacred business of life. Beware 
lest you corrupt and lead astray, a community of which you 
should be the reformation and the hope. Take heed, lest by 
the character of your intercourse with men, you subvert the 
foundations of their religious welfare, and alienate them still 
more from Christ, by leaving them to suppose that his yoke 
is painful to you, and his burden intolerable. Let them 
never derive, from the premises given them in your profess- 
ions, a conclusion not found in your example. Constrain 
them to acknowledge, that wisdom's ways are ways of pleas- 
antness, and that all her paths are peace. It is indeed im- 
possible but that offences come, but if you have any respect 
to that charity which Jesus Christ exemplified in behalf of 
the world, let not these scandals be found, either in your 
wanton transgressions, or heedless neglects. Put it not in 
the power of him who watches for your haltings, and who 
would feed upon your sin-offering, as the hunger-bitten upon 
any food, to plead the want of one christian example — to 
stumble over yours into perdition, by his discovery of an 
entire contrast, between the rule of your devotedness and the 
tenor of your life. Excite in others no doubts, and let 
them never avail themselves of any hope of impunity, by 
such a worldliness, or suspicious morality in you, as seems 
to say — we have but one lot, we go together to the same 
place ; for the effects of our faith, and their unbelief, have a 
common and undistinguishable character. 

It is not indeed to be expected that the world will be just, 
either to Christ or to his followers ; but so much the more 



SERMON XVI. 



239 



ready as they are to upbraid, and to find apologies for their 
sins, in the lives of christians, so much the more important 
to their salvation is it, that their reproaches be made to re- 
coil upon themselves ; and for this, that you so serve God 
in all things, as to have an approving witness in their con- 
sciences : — that, as the sons of God, you be blameless and 
harmless, without desert of rebuke, in the midst of a crooked 
and perverse generation. It is not to answer the unreason- 
able demands of a capricious and contradictory mind, that 
you are called of God. An angel could not do this. Jesus 
Christ himself, with all his purity and perfectness, could not 
do it. It is only to let your conversation and deportment 
be such as becometh the gospel ; that they may derive from 
them no countenance for their excess of passion, their self- 
ishness, their ambition, their sensuality, their love to a world 
whose fashion passes away. The more we discover in the 
wicked of a propensity to criminate us, to observe and take 
advantage of our frailties, and failings, and blunder over 
them into self-destruction, the more does charity require us 
to guard against giving them occasion against themselves, 
and the character of our religion ; and the more is the real 
disciple constrained, for their good and Cod's glory, to shun 
"even the appearance of evil." Thus do we give, and most 
unostentatiously too, the highest and most effective expres- 
sion of our love to souls, and of him who bled for their re- 
demption from all iniquity, and to purify them unto himself. 

Let us associate as many as we can with us, in our pil- 
grimage to the better country, and dissociate as many as we 
can influence, from the larger company who are thronging 
the way to death. And if it be vile to propagate a purer re- 
ligion than may content the mass of mankind, and to prose- 
lyte, from among every denomination unto Christ, a pecu- 
liar people, let us be more vile; and let us-not be ashamed to 



240 



SERMON XVI. 



let any man see, what is the hope or business of our calling. 
And to press upon you, beloved christians ! the subject of 
y our duty and your danger, by the most awful example, re- 
member that Peter himself — the man on whose noble con- 
fession the Saviour promised to build his church — even this 
man, onCe fell into this sin ; and if he, for want of such cir- 
cumspection could not stand, who of us needs not to take 
heed lest he fall. And a christian, you will recollect, sel- 
dom falls alone ; and though his lapse should be followed 
with repentance, yet the many who will imitate his defection, 
w r ill never imitate his repentance. 

I make but another remark, on a subject which might 
profitably fill a volume with pertinent and important reflec- 
tions : — and it respects the vast responsibility attaching to 
men of influence in every department of society — to those 
men, of every community, who have, I had almost said, the 
virtue and the souls of men within their power — who stand 
at helm, and move the ship's crew whithersoever they please. 
What leader in fashionable vice, by returning to God, and 
giving a conspicuous example of christian excellence in the 
circle where its glory is never witnessed, might not save a 
host from death, aift hide a multitude of sins ? What head- 
man, in any of the lesser associations of our associating and 
banding age, might not by his faithfulness, and discreet ex- 
ertion of his moral influence, anticipate the business of the 
elect angels, and with more than angelic privilege, gather 
eut of the kingdom many of them that offend and do ini- 
quity ; and instead of casting them into outer darkness, 
bring them within the pale of the saved ? 

Let us think then of our responsibilities, whatever be our 
office in the church or in the world, and in the strength of 
him, who, in them that have no might, increaseth strength, 
and who renews the power of the faint but pursuing, re- 



SERMON XVI. 



241 



solve — that whether our companions are to perish or be 
saved, we, like the holy Apostles engaged in the same hon- 
orable warfare, will be a sweet savor to God in both : — that 
the one shall have no help from us in his career to perdition, 
nor the other be made to triumph in Christ without our sub- 
stantial sympathy and aid. 

31 



I 



SERMON XVII. 

THE NATURE OF GRACIOUS COMPASSION. 

Luke, xix. 41. 

And token he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it. 

How different are the emotions produced in different men, 
by events of the same character ! How totally opposite, in 
sentiment and feeling, the ambitious and the humble ! The 
one, standing on the ruins of empires desolated by his arms, 
weeps at the thought that there are no more cities to lay 
waste, no more fields to ravage, no more nations to slaugh- 
ter or enslave. — The other, riding in triumph into the city 
whose impending destruction he had in vain endeavored to 
avert, and whose obstinate rejection of the means of deliver- 
ance he had in vain warned and entreated them to put away, 
is filled with compassion, and in view of their self- wrought 
misery pours forth a torrent of tears. Such, in one impor- 
tant feature, is the difference between the man of the world 
and his followers, and the man Christ Jesus and the children 



SERMON XVII. 243 

of the kingdom of God. "And when he was come near, he 
beheld the city, and wept over it — saying-, if thou hadst 
known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the tilings which 
belong unto thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes. 
For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall 
cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep 
thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the 
ground, and thy children within thee : and they shall not 
leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou knewest 
not the time of thy visitation." 

Compassionate Saviour! What a model of holy tender- 
ness hast thou left us in thine example ! Brethren, did he 
not fitly weep ? Would not your hearts have melted, in view 
of that devoted city, the glorious place of the tabernacle of 
the Most High,, and the capital of the beauty of kingdoms r 
Would not you have wept, had you been possessed of con- 
scious forebodings like his, that even his tears of blood would 
avail nothing for its salvation ? — That not only his tender 
expostulations, and faithful admonitions, but even the sacri- 
fice of his life in their behalf, should be contemned by the un- 
tractable and unfeeling inhabitants of that city, and his blood, 
according to their imprecation, descend upon them and their 
children ? Ah ! no — this is not the man whom the people 
of this world delight to honor, and to imitate. He who sub- 
jugates nations with the sword, and by the terror of his 
fleets commands the abundance of the seas, shall find nations 
doing him reverence, and all kings bowing themselves down 
before him. But he who melts at the self-wrought miseries 
of a whole race, and even of a single city, nay, a single 
soul, is ;; despised and rejected of men." Alexander and 
Caesar are the objects of the world's envy and idolatry ; 
Jesus upon the foal of an ass, weeping over human guilt and 
wretchedness, is their scoff and their song. If for this there 
be not a day of retribution, reason and righteousness per- 



244 





SERMON XVII. 



ish together, and all our faith in the powers of the world to 
come is but " the airy fabric of a vision." 

Jesus Christ, my brethren, shews us, in this scene of his 
personal ministry, the nature of gracious compassion ; afid 
though it was unavailing to that incorrigible people, it is 
not, in any instance of its exercise, without its use to some 
portion of the kingdom of God. His were consecrated tears ; 
their remembrance will be preserved by his followers ; and 
they will speak a language to the wicked, in the last day, 
which cannot but overwhelm them with confusion, and justify 
in their consciences, the sentence of their Judge. I pro- 
pose — 

First, to explain the nature of gracious compassion, or 
pious grief : 

And secondly to point out its use, 

I. They who have been unaccustomed to distinguish, in 
their thoughts and affections, between holiness and sinful- 
ness, may find it difficult to conceive that any difference can 
exist in the nature of man's compassion. They will naturally 
prefer the more common and lax sentiment, that all compas- 
sion, pity, grief, wherever found, is in kind essentially the 
same affection, and admits only of a common source. But 
such a supposition cannot stand with the inspired represen- 
tation of the human and divine character ; nor with a candid 
comparison of one man with another. There is a sympa- 
thetic tenderness of soul, at least in some stages of man's 
life, inseparable from human nature. The sacred writers 
admit, and we are all competent witnesses to the fact, that 
the very enemies of God may be the subjects of real compas- 
sion, which still partakes nothing of a divine or holy char- 
acter. We are all conscious of a kind of compassion which 
is as easily excited, and brought as sensibly into exercise, 
by reading a fictitious story, as by a scene of distress in the 
sober realities of life. The nature of this emotion may be 




SERMON XVII. 



245 



neither good nor evil ; it may be, in its effect, either useful 
or pernicious, and cannot, therefore, be of the nature of 
moral excellence. Having neither benevolence for its 
source, nor the glory of God for its object, nor any thing 
necessarily useful in its tendency, it cannot be the fruit of his 
Spirit, and is not therefore entitled to the character of gra- 
cious compassion. It is found alike, in the heart polluted 
by atheism and infidelity, and in the soul of the mere specu- 
lative believer in Christianity. It is often nothing more than 
the organ, or the instrument, of the most subtle and refined 
selfishness. It is moved, and moves its subject, to action, 
without regard to law, to fitness, or to God. If then there 
can be no benevolence, in the exercise of affection on that 
which is not ; if natural compassion is common to men in a 
state of nature and of grace, then the importance of the dis- 
tinction, and the reason for insisting on it, must be already 
apparent. The man of feeling, of great sensibility, and of a 
ready sympathy with the wretched, is in danger of mistaking 
his emotions for a holy temper. In order to relieve him 
from his danger, it is necessary that he recollect that com- 
passion is sometimes witnessed among the barbarous tribes 
of men ; that a species of it is natural even to irrational ani- 
mals. To some of these animals the scent of blood is obvi- 
ously oppressive, and calls forth signs of tenderness ; and the 
injury of their offspring, and the distress of one of their spe- 
cies, produces loud moans, and bitter lamentations. Indeed, 
in one of our domestic animals, there is a sympathy extend- 
ing even-to the family of man, and not unfrequently exerted 
in a kind of beneficence substantially useful to a suffering 
member of his household. Unless, therefore, we are pre- 
pared to admit the possibility of religious affection being 
found in the brutal nature, we must abandon the supposition 
that any thing of the nature of virtue is combined with mere 
natural compassion. 




2.46 



SERMON XVII. 



To disembarrass the subject still more, take with you to 
its examination, the well attested fact that our own interest, 
real or imagined, is the exciting cause of natural compassion. 
To avoid pain, or to secure pleasure, is its ultimate end. Ev- 
ery object in distress, whether intelligent or merely animal, 
is sufficient, in the sight of a compassionate heart, to excite 
sympathy. This fact will perhaps of itself, account for all 
the tenderness of feeling, and all the vigor of exertion, put 
forth to alleviate human suffering, by those whose springs of 
action never rise above the earth on which they dwell, and 
are supplied and fed only from beneath. Since, however, 
the desire of avoiding pain, or securing a temporary pleasure, 
is not necessarily of the nature of christian virtue, the conclu- 
sion is unavoidable, that there is just ground for the distinc- 
tion which has been insisted on between natural and gracious 
compassion. 

The latter was the compassion of Jesus Christ ; and to 
him all his followers are, in this respect, in some degree con- 
formed. It was not the sight of distress, nor the desire of 
avoiding pain, nor the prospect of securing pleasure, which 
produced his grief : but the sinfulness which exposed the 
people around him, ignorant as they were of their destin}?, 
to unavoidable destruction. This affection, of consequence, 
has its source in love to God, which is inseparably connect- 
ed with love to men, and is necessarily of the nature of moral 
excellence ; its tendency always salutary, and its legitimate 
effects always good. All distress, of course, does not excite 
sorrow in the pious mind, or give it pain, as in the case of 
natural compassion, which is often blind, and weak, and 
vicious, in its operation. On the contrary, in many cases, it 
is a source of gratitude and pleasure. For that keenest of 
all pangs, produced by a conviction of sin, and righteous- 
ness, and judgment; and the penitence which usually suc- 
ceeds, furnish the pious beholder, with a cause of exquisite 



SERMON XVII. 



247' 



delight. Such emotions and affections, in every offender 
against God, are absolutely requisite to his virtue and peace, 
and are honorable to the Lawgiver. The purest spirits, of 
consequence, behold their operation with joy ; and there is 
gladness over such subjects of sorrow and grief, in the pres- 
ence of the angels of God. Hence, in the instructive para- 
ble of the rich man and Lazarus, natural compassion is ex- 
hibited in its best dress, supplicating the conversion of five 
brethren, lest they should come to share and aggravate its 
own wretchedness ; while gracious pity, equally desirous of 
their conversion, has an entirely different motive, and oper- 
ates to a higher and for a nobler end. The first is selfish, 
and regardless of the divine glory ; the last, satisfied with 
Moses and the Prophets, acknowledges that God has done 
enough for their conversion, and declines the course of ac- 
tion which natural compassion prescribes. 

Gracious compassion is still further distinguishable in its 
nature, by the means it employs to accomplish its ends. The 
greatest good of rational being is its ultimate end, and the 
highest welfare of each individual, so far as it is compatible 
with that of the whole. The means of promoting these ends, 
must, of consequence, be holy — Truth, fidelity, integrity, 
and a supreme regard to the authority of God, as paramount 
to every other consideration. Take an example of no un- 
common occurrence. Here is an unsanctified soul filled with 
remorse of conscience, under a deep conviction of its guilt 
and danger — it is in extreme distress : all agree in feeling a 
desire for its relief ; but all are not equally indifferent about 
the means which should be used to relieve it. Natural com- 
passion cries " peace, peace, while there is no peace." It is 
indifferent to the means, so it can soothe the anguish and mit- 
igate the distress, and thus relieve itself, and the object of its 
sympathy, from present suffering. But gracious compas- 
sion looks through this distress, and beyond its suffering, to 



248 



SERMON XVII. 



a brighter and better day. It had rather share the pain, than 
sacrifice truth, and the honor of God, or the salvation of the 
soul. It probes still deeper the wound, and, like the faithful 
surgeon, amputates the limb to save the life : withholding all 
artifice and flattery, and offering no other means of relief, 
than such as shall secure the divine glory, and the highest 
interests of the soul. Take a still stronger case — that of 
the impenitent and unreconciled sinner, on a d}'ing bed. In 
the fullest exercise, and under the immediate influence of 
natural compassion, man, tender of his friend, and more ten- 
der of himself, hides from him his condition and his needs. 
Unwilling to believe and tell the story of the ghastly face, 
and of the eye already closing in death, he pretends to see 
roses on the cheek ; and in his deceitful smile and equivocal 
language promises a return of health. It is not denied that 
the pretext is fair. I't is to prevent the more speedy disso- 
lution of the beloved object, and save it from further an- 
guish. So it reasons, and so it acts. Look a moment, on 
the other hand, at the conduct of the gracious heart. It be- 
holds the unhappy, hopeless soul, on the verge of time, un- 
consciously raising the wing to take its flight to the judg- 
ment seat of Christ. It feels acutely, it is distressed, and 
thus it reasons. If I conceal at this time this mortal's dan- 
ger, all hope of his salvation is extinguished forever. If I 
hide his guilt, he will die in his sins. If he repent not, nor 
flee for refuge to the hope of the gospel, his soul is lost — the 
ruin in such case is irremediable. If I speak I shall add to 
his distress — I shall give a momentary agony to his suffer- 
ing spirit. In the act of probing his wounds, I shall also 
open one in my own breast ; but in neglect of this course I do 
nothing to save his soul from death. I will therefore suffer ; 
I will cheerfully become the instrument of his sufferings for 
a time, that I may minister to his happy eternity. I publish 
his danger— -I tenderly shew him the urgency of his case, 



SERMON XVII. 



the necessity of immediate action, the sufficiency of Christ, 
the only way of salvation. Who now is the monster — who 
the savage — who the murderer ? — The compassion which 
wraps up the dying sinner in invincible ignorance of his 
danger, or that which tears away the veil from the eye just 
on the edge of the precipice, and leads it to look with con- 
cern upon the narrow way of life ? Let him answer who 
knows the value of a soul, and the worth of a moment to the 
dying sinner, when properly employed.* So reasoned, so 
felt, so acted the Son of God. He knew the time of man's 
visitation, and with generous aim pierced, and divided asun- 
der, the soul and spirit ; and when all these means proved 
unavailing, and Jerusalem would not hearken to his voice, 
he lifted up his eyes on the city approaching its fate, beheld 
and wept. 

The relief which natural compassion proposes, and with 
which it is satisfied, betrays its unhallowed character. As it 
does not inquire into the lawfulness of the means, so neither 
does it regard the solidity or duration of the comfort which 
it labors to bestow. You may often witness the most gross 
deceit practised upon the artless child, to pacify its insatiate 
cravings for improper objects. You may find men adminis- 
tering moral poison to the mind, in the means employed to 
manage a disordered imagination, or to free the distracted 
and itself from temporary calamity. Is this genuine philan- 
thropy ? Did Jesus thus do evil that good might come ? 
No — he would have practised no such guile, to have saved 
himself from crucifixion. He would not have corrupted a 

* These remarks deserve the deepest attention from those Physicians 
and friends, who are so reluctant to have his real state communicated to a 
dying man. It may be proper however to add, they are made on the 
strongest supposition. If a minister's faithfulness is clothed with tender- 
ness, the danger of increasing the disease, or accelerating death, is very 
small. 

32 



250 



SERMON XVII. 



single soul, by false doctrines, or unholy stratagems, to have 
saved a kingdom. It satisfies natural compassion to afford 
relief. It often forgets as soon as possible, the sorrows of an 
anguished spirit, and weakly strives to ward off approaching 
evil, by shutting the eyes to the inevitable event. Not so 
the Compassion fitly called christian. The object of this is 
not merely to relieve itself, or by any means to alleviate the 
miseries of others. It rests satisfied with nothing less than 
the substantial, durable and immortal consolation of the suf- 
ferer ; and exerts itself in the use of divinely appointed 
means, till this object be accomplished ; or if such means 
fail, weeps over the hardness of that heart, which destroys 
or prevents their efficacy. Witness the conduct of the holy 
Prophet — If ye will not hearken, to give glory to God, my 
soul shall weep /or you, in secret places. Witness the pray- 
ers, reproofs, and zeal, of the holy Lamb of God : his pa- 
tience, diligence, and meekness ; his willingness to suffer, 
his faithfulness in refusing to heal slightly the hurt of the 
daughter of God's people. Brethren, if we have not the 
spirit of Christ, we are none of his. If we have not his 
compassion, our charity is like sounding brass — always hol- 
low, and empty. 

Finally, natural compassion, as it begins with itself, and 
terminates on its own interests, generally ends with carrying 
its meagre consolations to a friend ; while that which is of 
God, is alive to the sorrows of the stranger, extends to the 
soul of the suffering prisoner, and the wretched of every 
character and clime, and pours its oil and its wine into the 
bosom of its hard-hearted and deadly enemy. The proper 
question is, not what a man's feelings are towards us, but 
what is his capacity for improvement, for dignity, for happi- 
ness, for honoring God, and doing good ; and what our 
means of benefitting him ? Could the circumstance of the 
state of men's affection towards us, be allowed to govern our 



SERMON XVII. 



251 



compassion towards them, Christ, surely, would not have 
wept over Jerusalem, nor died for man ; nor should we still 
hear his sympathetic voice, * saying to the ungodly, " in 
strains as sweet as angels use," "turn ye, turn ye, for why 
will ye die." His nature and example are the model, on 
which our mercifulness is to be formed, and every emanation 
of it from him, will beget its own likeness on the heart into 
which it flows. He wept over his enemies after they had 
refused to be comforted by him, and died in sacrifice to the 
virtue which we are so slow to practise, and to suffer to be 
practised on ourselves. With this imperfect exhibition of 
the nature of christian compassion, as distinguishable from 
that which is common to man — 

II. I submit to your consideration, in the second place, 
a few remarks on its use. Gracious compassion is the source 
of all human enjoyment. From this flowed the plan of 
man's redemption. But for this, God the Father had never 
contrived, nor the Son executed, nor the Spirit of sanctifica- 
tion applied it, to a single soul. As in God it is a fountain 
whence all the wants of our sinful world are supplied, and 
all the woes of the redeemed ultimately relieved ; so in man, 
it is the grand means of enlarging, establishing, and perfect- 
ing the kingdom of Christ on the earth. It is begotten in 
man, when, beholding as in a glass the glory of God, he is 
changed into the same image, as by the Spirit of the Lord. 
God is pleased to save sinners through the agency of men. 
He has made man a minister and a witness, and sent him to 
turn his fellow-sinners from darkness unto light, and from 
the power of Satan unto God. But without the operation 
of this affection on their hearts, they could not be excited to 
the labors and trials of the christian ministry ; — they would 
not consent to suffer wrongfully, and to endure the contra- 
diction of sinners, and, by publishing the pain-giving truths 
of the gospel, to make men their enemies. Without this 



SERMON XVII. 



spirit of commiseration, no sons of consolation had carried 
the glad tidings of salvation to a lost and ruined world, nor 
sons of thunder, at the hazard" of every worldly interest, ex- 
posed the depravity of men's hearts, and patiently and im- 
portunately intreated them to be reconciled to God. It is 
this which has borne up the faithful in every age, and induced 
them to take reproach and suffering, rather than inglorious 
ease, and made them prefer the evils of the cross to that con- 
cealment and perversion of the truth, which ensures the 
friendship of the world. It was this which carried the 
Apostle of the Gentiles through all the regions of ignorance 
and barbarism, to proclaim the salvation of God, and sub- 
vert the throne of iniquity, and overturn the empire of sin 
and death : which, in the cause of truth, lifted him above the 
fears of the Roman sword, and the flatteries of men who 
would have done him the honors of their gods : which 
rendered him willing to die for the name of Jesus, and for 
the conviction of his brethren according to the flesh. It 
was this gracious compassion which waked in the hearts of 
Swartz and Vanderkemp, the long slumbering spirit of the 
Apostles, and cut a way through all the natural ties which 
bind men to their fire-sides, their country, and their altars, to 
the benighted, dying souls of Egypt and Ethiopia. It is 
this which has continued the herculean labor of levelling the 
mountains, and exalting the vallies, making the crooked 
straight, and the rough places plain, and filling the moral 
desart of India and the Isles with the waters and the seeds 
of life. It was this which set on foot an expedition, at which 
scoffers were amused, and on which natural compassion 
looked in doubt : against which the Bacchanalia Priests of 
Europe lifted the finger of scorn, and on which Rationalists 
of America contemptuously smiled. — An expedition, not- 
withstanding, which has made Hell to tremble for its strong- 
holds, and the angels in the presence of God to rejoice, for 



SERMON XVII. 



253 



the honors it has already brought to God and the Lamb. It 
is this same gracious compassion, which animates the breasts 
of all christian missionaries, and fires the zeal of all who fol- 
low them with their prayers and their alms ; and sends after 
them, through every uncultivated and inhospitable region 
which they traverse, a blessing winged with benizons from 
heaven. But for this, no tongue had sung the anthem 
taught by the heavenly choir at the nativity ; no human foot 
trod the mountains of the leopards, or the valiies of Baca, 
publishing salvation; no altar had been reared, nor peace- 
offering arisen, on the bloody pile once sacred to supersti- 
tion; nor Prophet nor Priest said unto the cities of Judah, 
behold your God. 

If therefore the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour — if the 
conversion, the salvation, the present comfort or future bless- 
edness of man be desirable — if there be any thing just, lovely, 
and of good report, in the promotion of such objects — then 
is there an utility in the affection we are commending, high 
as heaven and broader than the sea. Not a single step, in 
the progress of man from moral darkness to light, from cor- 
ruption to purity, from desperation to hope, would have 
been taken without its influence. But though of itself, it is 
unavailing to sanctify and save those on whom it operates, 
it has (even when unattended with divine efficiency) its use. 
It stimulates to noble and god-like enterprizes, and, in seek- 
ing the good of the great family of man, adorns our nature, 
and does honor to its author. I am sensible that even the 
sublime spectacle, of the Son of God weeping over devoted 
Jerusalem, has been thought by some men, unworthy a place 
in the sacred history. It is, says worldly wisdom, a mark 
of imperfection : — it was idle for the Son of God, after the 
day of peace was gone by, to weep. Not so, deluded 
man ! — Those tears are not lost : they are sacredly preserv- 
ed ; they are gathered up by the disciples of every age, 



254 



SERMON XVII. 



and poured out again over their obstinate and impenitent 
children, their hardened and unbelieving neighbors ; over 
their untractable and ungodly people ; over the hypocrite 
and the deluded professor. Nay, the influence of those tears 
of Jesus, stops not here : they are laid up in heaven, and 
will be presented at the last day, as witnesses against those 
who will not know the things belonging to their peace, in 
the accepted time and day of salvation. They will be ex- 
hibited there, to confound the men who deny, or doubt, his 
willingness to save — as witnesses of his love, and strong de- 
sire for the recovery of those who would not hear, who des- 
pised all his counsel, and would none of his reproof. Yes, 
beloved hearer ! those tears, though of no use to the inhab- 
itants of Jerusalem, will have their use in relation to you. if 
you will be his followers ; and If Hot, when the wicked shall 
be sentenced to everlasting despair, these fruits of our Sa- 
viour's compassion — these strong proofs of the sincerity of 
his offers and his efforts, and the genuineness of the benevo- 
lence from which they flowed, will flash conviction upon 
every conscience, and render unnecessary the allegation, 
££ O Israel thou hast destroyed thyself." It was not his in- 
disposition to help, but your incredulity, that ruined you. 
It was not his want of grace, but the enmity of your heart, 
which condemned } 7 ou. It was not his decree of election, 
but \'Our perversion of your liberty in abusing it, that de- 
stroyed 3 T ou. It was not the impossibility of entering in at 
the strait gate, but your preference of the broad way, which 
doomed you to perdition. 

Christians ! this gracious compassion of Jesus, which fires 
your breast also, which animates your intercessions, your 
labours, your expectations, and which you have received 
from his fulness, and employed for his glory, will also be of 
use to you in the great day of account. It will shew the 



SERMON XV1L 



255 



universe, that you are partakers of the divine nature, that 
you have been co-workers with God, that you are thereby 
rendered meet to partake his glory, to enter into his joy. 
It will render clear, in the eyes of the world, the doctrine 
that the saints judge the world, and, by the different nature 
of their compassion, condemn those malignant spirits, who 
have been the successful agents in the temptations, and sins, 
and ruin of men's souls. Say not then any longer, it is use- 
less to be distressed, or vain to pray, or idle to instruct, or a 
hopeless task to reprove, persuade, and exhort, such as still 
harden their necks, and refuse to surrender their hearts to 
him who bought them with his blood. Surely, in sight of 
the moving spectacle at the gate of Jerusalem, you cannot 
be weary and faint in your minds : you will not be discour- 
aged, nor cease your compassionate exertions to convince, 
persuade, and save. However often repulsed, however long 
and patient your labours of love, and though insulted for 
your fidelity, and finally forbidden to speak any more in 
that sacred name, you will depart from the presence of his 
enemies, and weep^n secret places for their pride, counting 
it a privilege to suffer shame in such a cause. And when all 
the tokens of the divine anger, seem to be arraj^ed against 
the obstinate opposers of his kingdom, and they seem given 
up judicially to delusion, to believe a lie, you will stop, and 
contemplate with the friend of sinners, their dreadful end ; 
and if conscious that you have tried all the means of God's 
appointment, and all in vain, to bring them to the knowledge 
of the truth, like him you will still have tears to shed over 
them, and a heart like his to exclaim — O that thou hadst 
known in thy day the things which belong unto thy peace. 
Forget not, christians ! that there may be in this assembly 
some souls, in the very state of those self-willed Jews, whose 
fate excited the commiseration of the Son of God. If there is 



256 



SERMON XVH. 



cause of fear, if there is ground to think there are any here 
who have been often called, and still refuse, O think of them 
when you return to bless your household, and remember that 
" Jesus wept.' ; 



SERMON XVIII. 



THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST 

John, xviii. 36. 
My Kingdom is not of this teorld. 

Both the character and designs of Christ have been mis? 
represented. His friends have sometimes mistaken, and his 
enemies perverted them. Weakness on the one hand, and 
malignity on the other, have combined to render them 
doubtful, or suspicious. Hence he was compelled to re- 
prove his own disciples for their rashness and folly, and the 
chief priests for their malice and falsehood. The nation 
who appropriated this King — foretold by Daniel, Isaiah, 
and other Prophets, as breaking in pieces and consuming 
all other kingdoms — first mistook, and next perverted their 
language. At the period of his advent in the form of a ser- 
vant, to set up his kingdom, this nation were in subjection to 
the Romans — a power of whose yoke they had long been 
impatient. They eagerly looked therefore, for the literal 
33 



25& 



SERMON XVIII. 



accomplishment of this prediction. They expected that ac- 
cording to the course of this world, the first essay of their 
Prince would be the assumption of the government which 
the Romans had usurped over them, and the demolition, of 
course, of that empire. They overlooked those descrip- 
tions of their King which were couched in language corres- 
ponding with his actual appearance, and kept in their hearts, 
the more lofty and elevated images of the poetic pencil. 
They forgot, or disregarded, the story of a King coming 
meek and lowly ; and boasted in their Messiah, a warrior 
glorious in his apparel, treading down the Gentile nations in 
his anger, and trampling on the necks of only their oppres- 
sors. In the fulness of time he came; but it was not to 
rescue the nation from their bondage to the Romans ; not to 
gratify the unbounded ambition of a people who claimed as 
a right, what was never promised them even as an act of 
grace. He came — but unattended with the confused noise 
of the battle of the warrior, and a retinue of the thirty thou- 
sand chariots of God. He came — but it was to blast their 
unlicensed hopes, and to shew them a more excellent way. 
He came- — but the peace of kingdoms was uninterrupted, 
the foundation of thrones unmoved. The discovery of these 
truths was enough, on the part of the Jews, to excite discon- 
tent ; while the title of king sufficed to kindle, in the minions 
of Caesar, the fire of jealousy. While from one side, there- 
fore, was heard the cry of Imposture, from the other inces- 
santly sounded the charge of Treason. Before the tribu- 
nal either of Caiaphas or Pilate, one and the same charge 
was sufficient to fix upon him the guilt of both these crimes. 
He assumed the title of King of the Jews. To justify him- 
self, (for he could not deny) it was necessary to examine no 
witnesses ; for before one court stood the Prophets and 
Apostles, and before the other, the miracles of Jesus were 
present. His life was -an open epistle, read and known of 



SERMON XVIII. 



259 



ail men. To confound all his enemies, and establish all his 
claims, it was enough to answer — " My kingdom is not of 
this world." He answered thus, and was acquitted, even in 
the judgment of the friend of Caesar. He was indeed a 
king : but neither did his title, nor the authority which it 
covered, at all endanger the civil rights of any people, nor 
interfere with the sovereignty of any other king. 

The position which forms the whole defence- of Jesus 
Christ before the bar of the Roman Governor, is given us 
in the text: It is interesting to us, as it establishes beyond 
controversy, according to the description of the Prophets, 
his claim to the character and office of that Messiah, who 
began to be spoken of at the first as the desire of all nations, 
and to whom the eyes of the world have been directed, by 
the messengers of God, in all succeeding ages* It is inter- 
esting also, as it leads to the developement of the nature of 
that kingdom, in the privileges and blessings of which he 
who has no share, is lost alike to dignity and happiness, to 
present virtue and to future glory. 

It shall be, therefore, our first object, to discover the grand 
peculiarities of the kingdom of Christ ; and to exhibit those 
features of it, which distinguish it from every other king- 
dom under Heaven. These may be all comprehended, 
perhaps, in the foundation or origin, the nature, the object, 
the means by which it is effected* and the duration of this 
kingdom. 

1. In the first place, the kingdom of Christ is distin- 
guished from every other in its foundation. From no other 
has the prospec^ of self-aggrandizement been excluded : in 
most others this has been the bottom corner stone. But the 
whole basis of this is love. Who goeth a warfare at his 
own charges ? Who plants a colony, for the benefit of pos- 
terity not his own ? Who ever laid the foundation of ao 
empire, rescued from oppression and raised into a nation, a 



£66 



SERMON XVIII. 



people without a name, and eyed no other recompense 
than the glory of doing good — the exalted pleasure of com- 
municating happiness ? That history of nations which leads 
us to their origin, records no names, nor acts, nor purposes, 
which do not shrink from a comparison with his, who, 
though humbling himself to behold things done in heaven, 
actually ^a me down upon his footstool to serve mankind — 
to give the universe an example of true greatness of design 
and action — to found a kingdom in love. The monarch of 
Babylon revealed the secrets of the founders of kingdoms, 
when he said, " for the honor of my majesty." All the illus- 
trious actions of men of any other kingdom have terminated 
on themselves, and found their source in the love of earthly 
grandeur. But was it for this the God of Heaven set up his 
kingdom? Was the admiration of worms an object with him 
who sits above the cherubim, who makes angels with the 
breath of his mouth, and before whom all the inhabitants of 
the earth are as grasshoppers . ? Were those glories to which 
the praises of the perfect cannot add, to be heightened, by 
the acknowledgments of the guilty and the vile? Or are the 
perfections of the immutable God, sustaining no loss by the 
defection of angels, to derive some hitherto unknown lustre 
from the concessions of men ? Who will venture to suppose 
that it was either to retain, increase, or support the honors 
of his throne, that he has employed them thus ? Who ima- 
gines, that had the} 7 not been made known by their peculiar 
manifestation in Christ, they should not have equally de- 
lighted him ? Or will any man say that he who is never 
acted upon by any thing exterior to himself, acts necessarily 
when he acts at all ? If these hypotheses are too daring or 
absurd, admit Jehovah's claim : admit that in whatever par- 
ticular, in whatever degree, his kingdom resembles that of 
men of this world, that it is totally unlike every other in 
having love, disinterested and pure, for its foundation. A 



SERMON XV1I1. 



261 



benevolence, exerted not to gain accessions to his honors 
who is independent in glory, but to give happiness where 
happiness is wanted ; and by an emanation of himself, with- 
out loss, privation, or increase, to fill the intellectual world 
with peace, and the joys of virtue. In his own description 
" God is love." In his own acts he has taught mankind, 
that the diffusion of his goodness is his glory, the most pro- 
per and the most pleasing exercise of love. Governed by 
this, he lays the foundation of the mediatorial kingdom when 
there is none to behold and shout his praise, anticipates with 
complacency the progress of the kingdom, and continually 
testifies to the world his pleasure in Zion's king, and invites 
men and angels to share with him, in its final result, the most 
perfect satisfaction. For this shall the saints bless thee, 
Lord God almighty ; one generation to another shall speak 
thy praise, to make known unto the sons of men thy great- 
ness, and the glorious majesty of thy kingdom. 

2. The very nature of this kingdgm, as may be seen 
/rom what has been said of its origin, distinguishes it from 
the kingdoms of this world. The glory of these terminates, 
where the glory of Christ's commences. In them we hear 
only of fleets and armies, the number of subjects, extent of 
territory, plenitude of revenues, the encouragements of arts, 
improvements in policy, and the interests of agriculture , 
commerce, and human science. They all regard a transi- 
tory glory, and form but an imaginary, and that a momen- 
tary greatness. But the nature of Christ's kingdom is op- 
posed to every thing earthly, fluctuating, and of exteriour 
grandeur. It is altogether intellectual, and spiritual ; com- 
eth not, of course, with observation, but is within men. The 
moral world is the only subject it embraces, and moral 
good the utmost bound of its operation. The perfection of 
the rational nature is the only art it cultivates : an inter- 
change of affections, suited to its relations with all beings in 



SERMON XVIII. 



all worlds, its only commerce ; and the divine glory, and 
the general happiness, the object on which its revenue is 
employed. The interests of the soul, its glory, and honor, 
and peace — these are the interests it engages to promote, to 
enlarge, and to defend. Its nature is learned from the char- 
acter and enterprizes of its Head — a Prince, who, though 
terrible in power, devoted it primarily to the interests of 
truth, and restrained its use to the subjugation of the ene- 
mies, and to the correction of the prejudices, the evil pas- 
sions, and volitions of mankind. He who commanded all 
the elements, who governed tempests and oceans, whom the 
spirits of the abyss obeyed, and to whom even the angels of 
God cheerfully gave homage, had never else submitted to the 
exactions of the " little brief authority" of earthly Potentates, 
nor meekly yielded to indignities and wrongs imposed by 
the meanest of their subjects. Of the superior nature of this 
kingdom, as well as of its unlikeness to every other, he him- 
self gave signal proof, not only in the extent of his laws and 
authority over the conscience, and the secret thoughts of the 
heart, but in that example of deliberate contempt for human 
empire, and all the glories of this world, which he uniformly 
exhibited in his instructions and his life ; and particularly, 
under the insults of his enemies, the vehement intreaties of 
his friends, and the strange temptation of the Devil. 

His rewards also, invisible, remote from human observa- 
tion, principally future; and all the motives by which he 
sought to influence mankind, are of a character so distinct, 
or so much above those which eye had seen, .or ear heard, 
or the heart of man conceived, as to render them in our 
world a subject of derision. The nature of his kingdom, 
therefore, is not earthly, but as diverse from that of the 
world, as it is singular and glorious in its origin. It con- 
sumes and destroys all other kingdoms, not by fire and 
sword, but by a subjugation of those passions whose indul- 



SERMON XVIII. 263 

gence makes restraint and punishment necessary among 
men, and whose dominion alone renders the pursuit of pow- 
er, the business of courts, the machinations of statesmen, and 
1 had almost said, the existence of human governments, prac- 
ticable. For the law is made only for the disobedient, and " the 
powers that be" must have been unnecessary, or ordained 
for some other end, were mankind universally free from such 
corruptions as render them incapable of self-government. A 
kingdom, therefore, which, without violence and without in- 
jury, consumes every other, must be alike different, and su- 
perior in its nature. This truth will be still more obvious, 
if we consider-^- 

3. Thirdly, the object of Christ's kingdom. " He did 
not aspire to the throne of Herod, or of Caesar. He levied 
no army, and assumed no state." He sought not honor 
from men, but with a condescension unknown to mortals, re- 
tired before those who pursued only to exalt him; and re- 
fused the titles, the emoluments, and the distinctions of every 
kind, which the children of this world covet, and which its 
princes demand. His kingdom came not with observation : 
though resistless, it was silent in its progress ; it admits not 
of ostentation, though its effects cannot be hidden. The King 
of Salem aimed not at his own, but at the dignity and eleva- 
tion of mankind — a real dignity ; an elevation not of the 
man, but of the character of the man— a dignity never to be 
attained but in a restoration to the divine image, found in 
none other than him who fulfils the duties of all his relations. 
He aimed, therefore, at the reformation of the world. Never 
did a Prince before him, conceive a design like this. It 
was too pure, too extensive, for any other than a throne 
which has no fellowship with iniquity, no private or partial 
ends to serve. To open avenues to wealth, to irradiate 
the brow of some aspiring family, to extend dominion, to 
aggrandize one, to the degradation of another portion of 



264 



SERMON XVIH. 



mankind, to ascend to a superiority in external distinction 
over their contemporaries ; or, at least, to enjoy the privilege 
of making laws, and coercing their observance, of defining 
territory and protecting it, of providing a temporary enjoy- 
ment of the fruits of genius and industry, and the means of 
gratifying appetite and passion at the least expense, and for 
the longest duration, these are among the designs of men 
who have founded kingdoms. — Designs, which, if accom- 
plished, leave man a slave, and practically teach him to be 
content with his bondage, to seek no greater elevation, to 
wish for no higher good.— Designs, many of which are ab- 
solutely mean and sordid, and incompatible with Christ's, 
and the noblest of which he has taught us to make subordi- 
nate entirely, to the interests of his kingdom. Who, pre- 
vious to his teaching, had conceived the glorious plan of 
bringing man into an acquaintance with God, and resolving 
his utmost attainable excellence into a resemblance of him, 
and a subordination of every thought, emotion, and act, to 
the will of the great first cause ? It was novel as it is 
grand, and just as it is new. Between the kingdoms of this 
world and that of the Messiah, there is a correspondence 
only in titles and in names. 

That liberty whose attainment or maintainance, is pro- 
fessedly among the first objects, and the highest privileges of 
men, has in the one, only the form of what is called liberty 
in the other, and which is secured beyond the possibility of 
loss to all the subjects of Christ's kingdom. A liberty 
worthy of the distinction demanded for it, the sacrifices ne- 
cessary to its attainment : a liberty consisting in the emanci- 
pation of the soul — actually translating the imprisoned spirit 
from the bondage of corruption, into the region of light, 
purity, and peace. Under the dominion of many tyrants, 
what does it avail me that my eyes see the sun, that my 
limbs are free from fetters, or that my fields and purse se~ 



SERMON XV1H. 



2G5 



cured from plunder ? Yet this is all my national rulers 
pledge or proffer me. They will neither deliver me from 
my pride, nor cure me of my discontent. This is the capital 
defect of that freedom for which, in the kingdoms of this 
world, the globe is convulsed ; under the pretext of whose 
defence, thousands are lured into the chains they are invited 
to strike off, and still more robbed both of liberty here, and 
the means of securing its future and endless possession. 
"My kingdom is not of this world ; if it were, then would 
my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews ; 
but now it is apparent it is not from hence. " The constitu- 
tions of earthly kingdoms, however framed, free not even the 
bodies of the men they would protect. Their authority, 
however extensive, reaches not the verge of the empire of 
freedom. But the kingdom of Christ is in power. By 
touching the very spring of action, he liberates the whole 
man. "The spirit of the Lord is upon me," said the herald 
of this King ; he hath sent me to give deliverance to the 
captive, and the opening of the prison door to them that are 
bound ; to remove the obstructions of the mental eye, and 
give the understanding wings to soar into the region of 
things invisible ; to strike off the chains that confine it to 
material objects, and raise it to the comprehension of things 
sublime ; to expand and fill the large capacity, and satisfy 
the celestial nature with appropriate food. Nay more, for 
there is a spirit in man as perverse, as the undiscerning in- 
tellect is blind — a will as fatal to enjoyment, as it is averse 
to the pursuit of objects adapted and adequate to mental 
rest. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there only is liberty 
— a disengagement of the affections from objects, by whose 
attainment man cannot be gratified so as to thirst no more. 
But what power can correct the errors of a heart like this, 
mistaking evil for good, and pursuing happiness by means 
which have no influence to procure it ? Human authority- 
34 



$66 



SERMON XTIH. 



professes not to reach the case, nor human laws to provide a 
remedy. It is the peculiar glory of Messiah's kingdom that 
it does both. His operations begin here. He moulds not 
his laws to the will, but conforms the will to the laws. This 
is to restore in man the image of his Maker, whose laws are 
a transcript of his perfections. This is to effect a restora- 
tion to liberty, such alone as is at once consistent with hu- 
man happiness and the divine government : for he only can 
be gratified in all his wishes, who is conformed in his desires 
to the purposes and designs of him who inspects and gov- 
erns all. This is a dignified freedom, leaving man not in- 
deed independent of the will of one being, but superior to 
the power, caprice, and direction of every other in the Uni- 
verse — giving one Prince authority over us, instead of a 
thousand ; and in place of so many tyrants, one good and 
universal Lord, whose service, demanded alike by his per- 
fections and our relations, cannot be other than perfect free- 
dom. Such is the object of this kingdom, and such the di- 
rection and end of the authority of its Head. 

4. The means by which this object is effected, are also 
exclusively its own. Craft and power, or artifice superior to 
strength, are the wheels by which other kingdoms are 
moved, and their proposed ends accomplished, The sanc- 
tions of their laws, are founded in an appeal to the basest 
passions of their subjects. A slavish fear, a thirst for gold, 
a lust of fame, a hope of power, these are the means of secu- 
ring the laws' observance ; and a suspension of the means of 
grossly criminal indulgence, the only restraints those laws 
impose. If there be among men other restraints, or other 
security, they arise from causes beyond their control. But 
in the kingdom of which we treat, the means of accomplish- 
ing the end proposed, bear no resemblance to these. The 
object proposed is not to deter from evil merely, but also to 
excite to virtue, to subordination, to love and obedience; 



SERMON XVIH. 



267 



and to effect this, no lust is excited ; vanity is never flatter- 
ed ; nor pride, ambition, nor a mere mercenary hope, pam- 
pered with appropriate nutriment. The excellence of the 
object itself, the glory of the divine character and of resem- 
bling it, the dignity and happiness of the rational nature, 
the odiousness of ingratitude, and every other sin, and the 
dread of losing forever that favor which is life, are among 
the motives presented to the soul to draw it to its God. The 
appeal is made to the real interest of man, taking the whole 
of life into the account; and therefore, to the profit of all 
men, for the interests of mankind, when weighed in these 
scales, never clash. The appeal is made to the finest feel- 
ings of the soul — to affections excellent in kind, and needing 
nothing to render them good in all respects, but a fit object 
on which to exercise them in due degree. No violence is 
offered. It would destroy the very nature of this kingdom, 
to substitute coercion in place of motive. No fraud is im- 
posed. It is a kingdom of righteousness. "Not by might, 
nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." By the 
sweet constraints of love, by the disinterested example of its 
Head, by the diffusion of a benevolence high in its origin as 
the throne of God, and broad in its extent as the world of 
souls, does this kingdom rise, advance and reign. 

In the kingdoms of men, whatever sacrifices are necessary 
are usually required of the people — of those who are to en- 
joy the benefit only in common with the head, and oftener to 
be excluded from any participation in such enjoyment. In 
the kingdom of Christ, when an offering is wanted, he 
himself becomes the victim. The loss is all sustained, the 
sacrifice is offered, by him who governs. Though rich, he 
becomes poor, that his subjects, through his poverty, may 
be enriched. The blood of its sons, and the treasures 
of its subjects, flow not to support this kingdom ; but 
he who framed, himself sustains it. All the necessary 



268 



SERMON XVIII. 



supplies are drawn from* his own treasury, and his in- 
heritance in it consists of his subjects — " The Lord's por- 
tion is his people." Its arms are truth, and righteousness, 
and faith, and hope, and love. In every contest (and con- 
test is unavoidable) the King provides the arms. The re- 
sources are derived in no case from his subjects. He ever 
leads the way, and his arm ensures the victory. He enjoins 
no humiliation, nor self-denial, on his subjects, in which he 
has not been before them ; nor is any loss to be sustained, 
any danger to be encountered, any enemy to be overcome, 
in which he has not led the way, and first taught by exam- 
ple. And after all, reversing the customs of this world, all 
the solid benefits of victory, and the honors of a triumph, 
accrue to his subjects, and are awarded, not merely to the 
chieftain, but his followers. There is an efficacy in so dis- 
interested an example, and a glory in means like these, su- 
perior to all the contrivances of mortals. 

5. There is a fifth peculiarity, in the structure of Christ's 
kingdom, which evinces the same fact, and too singular to be 
unnoticed — I mean the adaptedness of its laws to all intelli- 
gencies, and its progress among all people ; indicating the 
hand and heart of none other than the universal Father — 
the governor and Lord of all. Here that dissimilarity of 
customs, habits, usages, tastes, which prevent the assimila- 
tion of men of different nations, and which renders impracti- 
cable a unity of law and government, ceases to form an ob- 
stacle to the establishment of Christ's kingdom. He collects 
subjects out of all nations, and makes of one heart and one 
Soul — subject to the same Prince and the same laws — men of 
every tribe, and kindred, and tongue. At once they speak 
the same language — the language of the heart, of piety, of 
benevolence, of heaven. No such difficulties as bound the 
extension of every other kingdom, check the progress of 
this. In its infant state it was seen advancing, in defiance of 



■ 



SERMON XVIII. 



269 



every species of opposition, and surmounting obstacles 
which have presented hitherto an insuperable barrier, to the 
extension of the kingdoms of this world. It still progresses 
in the same manner, circumscribed by no lines which ca- 
price or malignity, nature or art, have drawn, and is making 
its way in every clime. It resist? principalities and powers, 
the arms of human policy and strength, and the gates of 
Hell : finds voluntary subjects in the very fortresses of its 
enemies, and breaks in pieces and consumes, all kingdoms 
hostile to its interests. Nor is there any thing astonishing 
in this, on the supposition that his heart is in it with whom 
nothing is impossible, the empire of whose Providence is 
unbounded, and the influence of whose Spirit, is like the 
wind, unseen in its causes, and like the fire, irresistible in 
its power over every thing combustible. This Spirit is in the 
gift of him who is at the head of this kingdom, the name on 
whose vesture is " King of kings, and Lord of lords :" to 
whom was given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that 
all nations should serve and obey him ; and before whom, 
the dominion of the beasts is taken away, and their lives pro- 
longed but for a season and time. That time hastens to its 
close. The heathen are becoming his inheritance, and in 
the uttermost parts of the earth, his right begins to be ac- 
knowledged and his kingdom known. 

6. But, in the last place, the perpetuity of this kingdom 
distinguishes it most gloriously from the kingdoms of this 
world. And this thought connects the first and last heads 
of this discourse — in the very origin of it, the means of its 
perpetuity are ensured. Because God has pleasure in it, 
it will stand when the kingdoms of this world, founded in 
lust and cemented by corruption, shall have been destroyed 
by the very power in which they originated. This king- 
dom is an everlasting kingdom, and to the dominion of its 
Head there shall be no end. Duration is every thing. It 



SERMON XVIII. 



gives increased worth and consequence, to every object 
which is in itself of any value. Earthly thrones, by reason 
of the materials of which they are built, tend to dissolution. 
The principles on which they are founded are defective. 
But could the great laws of nature be reversed, and these 
foundations become immoveable, they would boast one 
glory, which now they cannot claim. How enviable a pecu- 
liarity, then, has that kingdom, which is both perfect in its 
nature, and perpetual in its duration ! Which shall survive 
the wreck of every thing man has sought to make immortal, 
and continue to increase till time itself shall be no longer ! 

In mournful succession, the kingdoms of this world have 
lost their glory and their names ; become the prey of ambi- 
tion, or some kindred spoiler ; mingled in abasement the 
Prince and the subject, and sunk into the gulph of a name- 
less perdition. Like them, all kingdoms built on the same 
defective foundation, must be dissolved. "The Lord of Hosts 
has purposed, and who shall disannul it ?" The kingdoms 
of men shall have an end, and all not tributary to Messiah, 
shall perish. Thus must it be with the land of our nativity 
and our delights : thus with all nations, until he whose right 
it is, shall be universally hailed as King ; and the kingdoms 
of this world become, indivisibly, the kingdom of our Lord 
and of his Christ, and all people cheerfully serve and obey 
him. Already to some, which our eyes once saw proudly 
elevated, and fearing no sorrow, the prophetic denunciation 
of Messiah's herald has been verified — " Hades from beneath 
is moved to meet thee : it stirreth up the dead for thee, even 
all the chief ones of the earth ; and hath raised from their 
subterranean thrones the departed monarchs of the earth. 
They speak with the voice of sympathy. — Art thou become 
like one of us, thy pomp brought down to the ground, and 
the noise of thy viols? How art thou cut down which didst 
weaken the nations !" But the kingdom of Christ has an im- 



SERMON XVIII. 



271 



moveable foundation. It stands on the perfections of Jeho- 
vah. Its perpetuity is secured by the oath and the nature 
of God. 

Give then, who will, your power and strength unto the 
Beast ; God shall have thee in derision, and the angels who 
look on, shall hiss at thee. " The people of the saints of 
the most high God," shall ultimately possess the dominion 
under the whole heaven. For who is God save the Lord, 
who has sworn it, and who is a rock save our God ? Thy 
throne, O God, is forever and ever ; thy sceptre is a right 
sceptre, above all that are called gods ; therefore shalt thou 
reign till all enemies are subdued beneath thy feet. 

In the application of this subject, most of the discrimi- 
nating marks of the kingdom of Christ furnish us with a re- 
flection. 

1. In the first place, since this kingdom is founded in 
love, they must be totally devoid of virtue who oppose its 
establishment in every place. Charity is the bond of per- 
fectness — the only bond which can permanently unite ra- 
tional minds. It is the only affection, which ensures a just 
subordination among the several ranks of the intelligent uni- 
verse ; which cheerfully allows God the throne, and every 
inferior spirit, a place nearer or more remote, according to 
his approximation to the divine image. Hence love is the 
discriminating mark of the subjects of this kingdom ; and 
enmity to God and man, and of consequence vice and infa- 
my, the badge of those who are opposed to the complete 
and universal establishment of the christian empire. 

2. As the nature of this kingdom is spiritual altogether, 
the renovation of the human heart is essential to those who 
would share in the benefits. No man lives and sinneth not. 
Sin is the transgression of the law of God. To restore men 
to the obedience of this law, is the object of Christ. Al- 
ready it has been deduced from the preceding truths, that the 



212 



SERMON XVIII. 



opposers of this kingdom are at enmity with God. The uni- 
versal denial of this fact proves man's destitution of spiritual 
discernment ; and this being either proved or acknowledged, 
the necessity of such a transformation to wisdom, life, and 
love, becomes incontestible. 

3. In the third place, as the means by which the kingdom 
of Christ is advanced are also spiritual, its interests are 
never promoted by a conformity to this world. "The wea- 
pons of our warfare are not carnal." The spirit of persecu- 
tion in all its forms, and the principles, and maxims, and 
practices of the children of darkness, can never be advan- 
tageously applied, or have any other than an injurious ten- 
dency, in this kingdom. Its true subjects are distinguished, 
therefore, by their practical opposition to the world. For 
the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, 
and truth. 1 am not of the world, said its founder, of him- 
self — and of his disciples, neither are they of the world. 

4. In the fourth place, as this kingdom is in power, de- 
fying all opposition, and surmounting all obstacles to an ex- 
tension to every land, the warfare of its enemies is a desper- 
ate warfare. The overthrow of this kingdom has engaged, 
for many centuries, the combined efforts of a great portion 
of this world, and of all the world below ; but its walls are 
still salvation. Its progress is silent, but it is irresistible. It 
will never be subverted, for God is at its foundation. They 
fight against his whole family, in heaven and earth, who 
practically reverse the petition — " Thy kingdom come." 

5. Finally, as this kingdom is in its duration without 
end, it ought to be a subject of very serious inquiry with 
every man, whether he has an interest in its perpetuity. 
Will it add to your stock of happiness, that this kingdom 
stands when the foundations of the earth tremble, and its 
pillars, with all the objects which contributed to your enjoy- 
ment, are removed out of their place ? Are you numbered 



SERMON XVIH. 



273 



among those who, when its glories shall be consummated, 
will make the arches of heaven resound with the song of tri- 
umph and of joy — "Now is come salvation, and strength, 
and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ." 
Let us be glad and rejoice, for the marriage of the Lamb is 
come. The answer to this enquiry, you will find in the 
testimony of your consciences to another :^—Is your kingdom 
of this world ? Say where is your conversation, where are 
your treasures, where is your heart, and you say at the 
same time that the perpetuity of this kingdom is the earnest 
of your eternal joy, or of your unavoidable despair. 
35 



SERMON XIX. 



ACQUIESCENCE IN THE WILL OF GOD, 

Job, xxxiv. 33. 
Should it be according to thy mind. 

The government of God is a great deep. He maketh 
darkness his pavilion, and thick clouds of the sky. He doth 
his pleasure in the armies of heaven, and among the inhab- 
itants of the earth \ and none can stay his hand. Reason 
looks on, as he developes in his providence the counsels of 
his unfrustrable will, and is confounded. Philosophy 
stretches over the mixed scene her microscopic eye, and 
pronounces it the effect of chance. Religion follows, and 
presents to man a thread which conducts him through the 
labyrinth into a plan of perfect wisdom and beauty. She 
exhibits Jehovah at the head of all might and dominion, 
guiding and controlling every movement of the natural and 
moral world, maintaining the same agency in the flight and 
fall of the sparrow, and in the rise and destruction of nations. 



SERMON XIX. 



275 



She exhibits something of his natural and moral perfection, 
in the passivity and action of all his creatures, and in all the 
vicissitudes by which they are affected ; the divine hand op- 
erating every where and at all times, to the same ultimate 
benevolent end, for "God is love." 

In the hands of such a being more absolutely than the 
clay in that of the potter, does it become the thing formed 
to say, why hast thou made me thus ; — to resist his will;— 
to express, or even to feel opposition to his pleasure ? Shall 
a worm dictate to its maker $ or dare to murmur when he 
dictates to him ? Must the earth be forsaken for thee ; or 
shall the rock be removed out of its place ? Should God 
give up the management of the world, to stop die complaints 
of a man, and should his counsels — firmer than its pillars — 
be changed to gratify the humor, and support the consist- 
ency, of the little creature at his feet ? The question comes 
home fo ever} 7 bosom, for there such arrogance has found a 
covert. Such is the temper of the uusanctified : and good 
men, when un watchful, have fallen after the examples of un- 
belief. Wisdom and goodness are on the throne : dominion 
and might are with him. Should any thing, then, which 
can become the subject of human volition, not as contrasted 
with that of other creatures, but with that of the Most High, 
<4 beaccording to thy mind r" Turn thine eye inward, and ex- 
amine thy present temper : backward, and recollect the past. 
Hast thou never quarrelled with the constitution of God ? 
Has he duly proportioned the sea and the land ; the gifts of 
his providence, and the measures of his grace ? Have the 
revolutions of the seasons, and of the heritages of men, been 
ordered to thy liking? Are the laws of matter and of mind 
wisely fixed ; and are endowments and pleasures properl} 7 
distributed ? Was the orginal condition of man well de- 
vised ? Are his present state and future destiny, fitly sus- 
pended upon conditions under the control of another's will ? 



276 



SERMON XIX. 



Ought man, in nothing to be independent of his Maker ? 
Ought not thy will, though at variance with that of God, 
sometimes to prevail ? Much do we mistake the inspired 
description of the human heart, if it strive not thus ; and 
equally, the character of God, if he do not visit for these 
things, if his soul be not avenged on such a nature as this. 
Come then, and let us reason together ; and frame our ways 
and doings into compliance with the law and government of 
God. 

1. In the first place, we are men, and have only derived 
rights ; we should therefore never prescribe to God. No 
derived power can, with any semblance of truth, claim the 
right of giving law to itself ; and. without regard to the 
will of its superior, fix its own destiny. God has made all 
things for himself. Creatures of every order are his prop- 
erty, and have no more claim to dictate an article of their 
constitution, than the axe, the saw, or the hammer, to lift 
itself against the artificer who handles it for the purpose, 
and in the manner, which pleases him. The prerogative of 
God cannot be questioned, to give law to every nature, and 
to do what he will with his own. Of himself, and of the 
several orders of the Universe, his is the whole disposal ; 
and from the very nature of God, it is a contradiction to 
admit his being, and question the propriety of his works or 
his designs. The intellectual weakness of a created nature, 
is, of itself, a prohibition of rising against him in judgment. 
Of the relation and tendency of events, man knows nothing ; 
but is indebted to his Maker, no less for the knowledge of 
what is right, than for his power to be. His capacity, com- 
pared with that of God, is nothing. The capacity of man 
is small, compared with that of other intelligent creatures ; 
and small as it is, is not filled. He is not qualified to judge 
at all, but by the revelation of God, over whom, in the very 
act of judging him, he exalts himself. And if he say he have 



SERMON XIX. 



277 



derived from him the means of deciding on the propriet} 7 of 
his acts, and yet is dissatisfied with his Sovereign's conduct, 
he does but affirm that Jehovah has condemned himself. 
Man sees not far, even in the race of time ; and whence his 
prescience, to declare what is to be accounted good at the 
end of the course, and in relation to eternity ? Who passes 
sentence upon actions detached from their causes, and conse- 
quences ; and without even an apprehension of what is to 
be their issue ? Did such a procedure in Jacob, on the loss 
of Joseph, establish its wisdom ? Was it, as he decided, the 
most adverse event of his pilgrimage? That train of bless- 
ings which we see to have been suspended on it, to himself 2 
to nations, to the world, and to all Messiah's kingdom, 
should have taught us to be still till the mystery of God is 
finished. Is man unqualified, when the hand of God is in it, to 
pronounce judgment on an event so simple as the selling of 
a boy, and does he condemn for its weakness, or question 
for its want of rectitude, a plan which comprehends the 
whole counsel of God ? He has forgotten that he was of 
yesterday, and born like the wild ass' colt. 

2. But were it otherwise ; were it admitted that he has 
a right to be consulted in the work of God, you will observe, 
secondly, that every man might challenge an equal voice in 
council. And to what an indefinable fraction would this re- 
duce the portion of individual influence? What is one man 
in a universe of minds ? And what were the government of 
the world, were each to be consulted in the determination of 
events, which are ultimately to affect the destiny of all ? No 
individual stands or falls alone ; and though his particular 
interest be involved, God, in all his operations, has regard to 
the concerns of his whole kingdom. How immense the 
number and variety of interests at stake ; and what move- 
ment of the great First Cause, can be said to have no bear- 
ing upon them all I What event is so small, as to contribute 



27S 



SERMON XJX. 



nothing, directly nor indirectly, to that grand issue in which 
every creature, and the great God himself, is interested ? 
Shall a single mind then, which is to the whole but as the 
mote to the globe, indulge^ a wish to prescribe to God ; to 
settle a question, or guide in a decision, which lias not been 
submitted to its judgment I Does such a mind deem itself 
sufficient, by its own powers, to take the responsibility of 
forming the character, and fixing the destiny, of men for 
eternity ? Who, on the contrary, finding himself occupying 
but a point in this unbounded' vast, and among myriads of 
spirits perhaps the weakest, and most insignificant of them 
all, who would dare, in the presence of God, announce his 
will, and set off his pleasure, against the known decision of 
Jehovah ? To the doctrines, the commands, the providence 
of God, who ventures to oppose his own will? Such con- 
duct were madness, were it not sin — 

3. For, in the third place, were there but one man on 
the earth ; were the inhabitants of other worlds unaffected 
by the events of this ; did God himself lay aside every other 
consideration, and live and act only for that man, and for 
the gratification of his will, he would destroy him at his own 
request. For who knoweth what is good for him f Who of 
all the race, was ever happy by means' of his own prescrip- 
tion ? Whose spontaneous designs and hopes, were not first 
reversed by the action of the Almighty, before he understood 
the nature of happiness, or the way of its attainment? Who 
would save his life, did his existence depend on his own 
measures ? The mariners who shipped with Paul, were pre- 
vented by dire necessity, from executing their only hopeful 
scheme of deliverance from a watery grave. It was by op- 
posing their wills, and counteracting their wisdom, God 
enabled them all to get safe to land. The wife of Jacob 
perished, by the very means she deemed essential to her tem- 
poral enjoyment. Israel loathed the food provided for them; 



SERMON XIX. 



279 



God listened to their complaints, in anger gratified their de- 
sires, and by the sustenance they demanded they died. So 
the cross of Christ, a stumbling block to the Jew, and folly 
to the Greek, becomes the occasion of the second death, 
though it be nothing less than the power and wisdom of God 
unto salvation. Who can look upon these examples, and 
suppose himself wiser than all who have preceded him ; and 
possessing the same nature, and subject to the same defect 
of foresight, imagine himself capable of securing a happier 
result, while disposed like them, to select and prescribe, in- 
stead of submitting to the appointments, and following the 
prescriptions of the only wise God ? Who is not prepared 
to admit, that his only safety, as well as wisdom, and right- 
eousness, and glory, results from humble confidence in God; 
of whom nothing is to be affirmed, the converse of which is 
not to be found in man ! To his omniscience, we oppose ig- 
norance : to infinite benevolence, selfishness : to his wisdom, 
folly : to truth, deceitfulness of heart : to goodness, desper- 
ate wickedness. We are impotent to think any thing as of 
ourselves, and to will and to do, in a strength opposed to 
his, is but to array briers and thorns in battle with devour- 
ing fire ; while to act in concurrence with Jehovah, is to 
move with everlasting strength — with a might which calls 
into being at will, the things which are not, and annihilates, 
or converts to his purpose, things that are. Self-willed and 
arrogant spirit ! think of these things ; and under the im- 
pression of their divine origin, answer the enquiry, u should 
it be according to thy mind ?" Will you resist or acquiesce 
in the government, will you oppose or yield obedience to the 
gospel, of God ? 

4. But, in the fourth place, it ill becomes him who so 
resists, and so opposes, be his condition and his prospects as 
miserable as they may, to complain of them, or of him who 
orders them, because he is the creature of corruption. 



280 



SERMON XIX. 



Could the arbiter of the world proffer him any condition his 
heart desires, a just sense of his deserts would constrain him 
to decline the favor. No man should even wish to be happy, 
but upon condition of his acquiescing in that moral constitu- 
tion which the perfections of God, merciful and gracious, 
have established in his sight. Were such a desire lawful, 
God could not have forbidden by revelation, any such ex- 
pectation. It is forbidden : we cannot, therefore, make any 
such proposal. He will appoint the sinner his lot. He has 
purposed and who shall disannul it ? His language is, " my 
counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." The 
decision is made, and cannot be reversed. It is written in 
the words of that book to which no man may add on pain 
of death, from, which none may take away but on the same 
forfeit of eternal life. 

Men talk of the law of nature — of finding implanted in 
every creature, a desire of happiness. But are the law of 
nature and the written law, at variance ? Or is the law of 
self-preservation so at war with the evangelical law, as to 
render the violation of the one, indispensable to the obedi- 
ence of the other ? Who does not perceive, that this is to 
claim for God an inglorious kingdom — a kingdom divided 
against itself — and therefore, by the decision of Jesus Christ, 
a kingdom that cannot stand ? God has implanted no desire 
in the human heart, which necessarily tends to undermine 
the foundations of the kingdom of grace. Yet such is the 
desire of happiness founded in opposition to his character, 
and law, and government. Whoever cherishes hostile de- 
signs against his throne, can be made happy only by its sub- 
version. So says every Prophet of God ; so said Jesus 
Christ, in the terms of the gospel. Submission to God is 
the only possible hope. The happiness of no other than the 
submissive soul, is agreeable to the divine will. To encour- 
age the expectation, or desire of happiness, in him whose 



SERMON XIX. ,281 

heart is set against the heavens, is to encourage licentious- 
ness. It is conniving at the criminal project of evading the 
penalty of the law, and defeating the grand design of the 
christian redemption. In sight of this object, can a man 
wish to retain his wickedness and suffer nothing for it, and 
still be obedient to a law written on his heart by the finger 
of God ? Ail the desires of a heart struggling for inde- 
pendence, are opposed alike to every law which God ac- 
knowledges to be of his enactment. Does he excite desires 
or hopes, which he has solemnly pledged himself never to 
gratify? Or are those desires lawful, which are indulged in 
defiance of the threatenings of his word ? Is the spirit of the 
Lord in this ? Are these his doings ? How then does it ap- 
pear, that they who walk in pride are ever to be abased ? 
How does it appear that the heavens do rule? If that heart 
be qualified for true enjoyment ; if the moral constitution of 
God have rendered its happiness compatible with a state of 
alienation from him, and insubordination to his government, 
how shall it be made to appear that the Redeemer has loved 
righteousness and hated iniquity, and for this is made pre- 
eminently glad ? No — under the extremest misery which is 
entailed upon a heart opposed to God, he who has any sense 
of what is just, any conception of moral fitness, will either 
cease to desire exemption from suffering, or submit himself 
to God. Humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty 
hand of God, or lie down in thy shame, and let confusion 
cover thee. • 

I am aware that no bad man is satisfied with the establish- 
ment of an inseparable connexion between sin and suffering j 
but to every such man, I present the fact as being agreeable 
to God, and ask of his conscience — " should it be according 
to thy mind ?" — Shall he that hateth right, govern ; and the 
voluntary servant of sin, by complaining of its penalty, re- 
buke his sovereign? The fire shall cease to burn upon every 
36 



28Z 



SERMON XIX. 



rebel who throws down his arms, and no miracle shall be 
withholden which is necessary to the encouragement of vir- 
tue ; but never will God acknowledge holy or laudable, any 
desire or action of a heart, which is found fighting against 
himself. " He resisteth the proud forever — but giveth grace 
nnto the humble." He has sent forth his edict to mankind, 
to hush every rebellious passion : he has given command to 
the world, to conquer every perverse affection. " Be still 
and know that I am God." f I will be exalted among the 
heathen. I will be exalted in the earth." Every creature 
shall cease his opposition to Jehovah and be melted, or feel 
the thunder of his power, and be broken in pieces, as the 
vessel of the potter is shivered. 

Let us see how the wise man of the East met this ques- 
tion, when,instead of the young man who proposed it to his 
consideration, Jehovah was perceived to be the inquirer : 
when he saw himself to have been arrayed against the Al- 
mighty, and to have instructed and reproved him. " Then, 
Job answered the Lord and said ; I know that thou canst do 
every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from 
thee : therefore have I uttered that I understood not, things 
too wonderful, which I knew not. Behold 1 am vile, what 
shall I answer thee I Once have I spoken, but I will not re- 
peat it ; yea twice, but I will proceed no further. I have 
heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye 
seeth thee; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust 
and ashes." Look upon the elevation from which he had 
fallen ; attend a moment to his example, and learn the duty 
in every condition and prospect of this life, of unqualified 
submission. God had given him extensive possessions, and 
an understanding heart. He was prosperous, and he was 
great ; and at his wisdom, the wise asked counsel. To him 
the mourner repaired for comfort, the beggar for life. He 
was to all intents a king, without his title or investiture. He 



SERMON XIX. 



had children like a flock, and an affectionate heart to appre- 
ciate the blessing — a wife, and she was as his own soul. He 
had health to enjoy them all, and friends to double the en- 
joyment, by sharing with him his happiness. Over ail, he 
had knowledge of the true God, and had seen by faith some- 
thing of the glory of his Redeemer. Thus blessed, he said 
unguardedly, but as a man, "I shall die in my nest." Sud- 
denly the heavens are dark, and ihe earth fails under his 
feet. His immense possessions are ravished from him by 
freebooters. The fire of heaven has scathed his habitations, 
and left him childless. The nerves strung with vigor, and 
the muscles clothed in beauty, are made naked and loath- 
some by disease. The wise, who asked counsel at his door, 
reproach, and the beggar, who there received his bread, de- 
rides him. The mourner whom he comforted, has no prayer 
in his calamity. The friends who loved his table, charge his 
misfortunes to hypocrisy; and the dogs of Idumea, who for 
their vices shunned his venerable presence, insult the suffer- 
ings which might disarm enmity itself. Even the wife of 
his bosom deserts him ; and over all, the God in whom he 
thought he had taken refuge, leaves him to his enemies ! Are 
you prepared to hear him criminate the providence of the 
Most High ? Shall his attachment to the world lead him 
back to its idols for a comforter ? Must not his passions 
blind his understanding, and drive him to despair ? O ! 
learn the power, and seek the comforts, of religion. All is 
well with the man who fears God — Naked came I out of 
my mother earth, and naked shall I return thither. — " The 
Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, and blessed be 
the name of the Lord." 

Bring hither the blasphemer, who charges his wretched- 
ness on the want of goodness in God — the miser, whose un- 
godliness is gain — the votary of pleasure, the child of am- 
bition, the philosopher, and the fatalist — and let them unite 



284 



SERMON XIX. 



in the acknowledgment that he who feareth God shall come 
forth of them all. Tyranny may inflame indignation ; a 
weak judgment may disproportion punishment to crime ; an 
imbecile Prince, however bent on rectitude, may bear the 
sword in vain ; but wisdom and might are with God, and all 
/jis judgments are done in truth. He is "a just God and a 
Saviour and he expects us in every condition to say — 
" Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Let his 
dread fall on us, and his excellency make us afraid. 

1. From this view of the subject, let us learn our obliga- 
tions to rejoice, that men and all their works, are in the 
hands of God— learn, I mean, to treat it as a practical truth, 
and cordially submit both to the precepts and the provi- 
dence of God. Pharaoh could admit the Lord to be right- 
eous, and he and his people wicked, and be unsubmissive 
Still. ? Tis death thus to admit, and decline the duty we ac- 
knowledge. The duty of submission is an extensive duty. 
A brute may suffer, and be passive under the reign of God. 
Man, as he is fitted, is to be active under his reign, and 
having followed out the precept, to submit the issue in the 
Sentiment of the best model of piety — Father, thy will be 
done. Then without shame, remorse, or disappointment, he 
may meet his fate in peace, and triumph in the song of the 
holy — "The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth." 

The christian is interested in this truth. It is his God, 
whose love is alike tender, efficient, and unchangeable : and 
his good and that of his child, is identified with the darkest 
event, and the highest honors of his throne. Take from him 
what he will, his bark is secure, and he will rise on the 
swelling billows toward the object of his chief desire, and 
ride at length, by the promise of the Eternal, into his des- 
tined haven. Through every cloud of the mysterious way 
in which he passes, he hears behind him the voice of en- 
couragement — Your light afiiiction is but for a moment ; it 



SERMON XIX. 



285 



worketh out for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight 
of glory. Every thing is adjusted to the accomplishment of 
this end, in behalf of him that believeth, and ever ministers 
to the encouragement of patience and hope. Why say you, 
desponding soul ! " Did I but know that God were my 
friend, I could, from respect to his will, do all things and en- 
dure ?" Do it then, without the assurance, and the point is 
gained. Do it, and you no longer dictate, but obey. 

2. I ask the wicked, in the last place, to compare the 
way of his steps with the christian course, mark their respec- 
tive issues, and turn at the reproof of wisdom. Is there 
another alternative t Will he neither be satisfied with sub- 
jection to the curse of the law, nor submit to the terms by 
which alone his Ruler proposes to give him freedom ? I 
ask him, in view of the several considerations laid before 
him, if a cordial and unreserved submission to one or other 
of these courses and issues, is not the only course of feeling 
and action in which a man can respect himself? Who would 
ask the approbation both of himself, and the enemy against 
whom he contends ? Who insist on the possibility that con- 
tending armies both may conquer, both be vanquished ? 
What king, going to make war, consulteth not whether he 
be able to meet the enemy ; and in defect of skill and power, 
desireth not conditions of peace ? Open now thine ear, 
champion of rebellion ! to the voice of God, which, either 
in whispers or in thunder, is ever sending abroad, to correct 
thine error, the seasonable admonition — " Wo 1 to him that 
striveth with his Maker !" 



SERMON XX * 



THE VALUE OF LIFE. 

The Chief Magistrate of this Commonwealth has sum- 
moned us together, to recognize the hand of a merciful Prov- 
idence in the peace and plenty, health and happiness, enjoyed 
by its citizens during the past year. He encourages us to 
recount our common favors, and devoutly to ascribe honor 
and glory to their Author — our supreme Benefactor. Among 
these favors, he particularly commends to our notice, a 
competent supply of the fruits of the earth, general health, 
the prosperity of our husbandmen, manufacturers, fishermen, 
and mariners ; and the advantages of commercial and friend- 
ly intercourse with other nations. He calls upon us to bless 
the wisdom which inspires the love of science, and a dispo- 
sition to cherish its schools ; and bids us acknowledge divine 
revelation as the basis of this life's best enjoyments, and the 

* This was the author's last public performance. He appeared pale, 
feeble, emaciated ; his bodily frame hardly supporting the activity of his 
spirit. But he spoke like a man, conscious of the value of life in a benev- 
olent point of view, though about to leave it. The sermon produced a deep 
impression. He seemed like one, lifting up his head from the grave to tell 
his people what it is, that makes life precious in the estimation of a dying 
christian. 



SERMON XX. 



2S7 



only source of knowledge and hope of enjoyment, in the life 
to come. To the praises of God in such extent, he recom- 
mends that we add earnest prayer for the prosperity of our 
country in every thing relating to the temporal benefit of so- 
ciety ; penitent lamentation for the prevalence of crimes 
which degrade man's moral character ; and supplication for 
that spirit of reformation, which shall render us meet for the 
enjoyment of the inestimable civil, social, and religious 
blessings which have been transmitted to us from our ances- 
tors, to be conveyed unimpaired to our posterity. The proc- 
lamations of the Governors of two neighbouring States, en- 
large the list of mercies to be acknowledged, and of the topics 
of praise, by adding to every common and temporal bless- 
ing, those of " the gift of God's Son, and salvation through 
him and " his abundant mercy to Zion, in her prosperity 
and enlargement, through the effusions of the Holy Spirit, 
and the success of the efforts of that active benevolence which 
characterizes the age." To the confessions already propos- 
ed they would have added, the " humble acknowledgment of 
our failure to requite the Lord, according to his benefits, 
with love and devoted service, and to honor him with our 
substance, and the first fruits of all our increase ; — the ac- 
knowledgment of our violations of his holy law, and abuses 
of his blessed gospel." To the petitions and intercessions of 
the people also, they recommend, 1 that we implore pardon 
for Christ's sake, and conversion from all our iniquities, 
that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness 
and honesty; that all our Rulers may be guided constantly 
by divine wisdom, and all this growing nation favored with 
the glorious gospel of the blessed God that religion and 
science may more extensively pervade our own land ; op- 
pression, superstition, idolatry, scepticism, and all irreligion 
and vice, be banished from every other, and all the king- 
doms of this world be subjected to the righteous dominion. 



288 



SERMON XXT 



and restored to the holy and everlasting kingdom of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' (Parris and Butler.) 

But while these, without exception, are proper subjects of 
thanksgiving and confession, supplication and praise, I am 
constrained to turn for my text, to a chief magistrate of an- 
cient time, under the immediate guidance of God ; and I find 
him comprehending all his obligations, in the preservation oj 
his life; (this in fact involves even the privilege of praising 
God in his sanctuary, and in the firmament of his power) and 
thus, on the ground of personal favors, erecting a monument 
of fervent and perpetual thanksgiving to God, so long as he 
has any being — 

Isaiah, xxxviii. 18, 19, 20. 

The grave cannot praise thee ; death cannot celebrate thee ; they 
that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth : the living, 
the living, he shall praise thee as I do this day ; the father to 
the children shall make known thy truth. The Lord was ready 
to save me ; therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed 
instruments all the days of our life in the house of the Lord. 

HEZEKIAH, the author of this animated hymn, and of 
the holy resolution which it proclaims, was among the most 
illustrious Princes who ever graced the Jewish throne. He 
was alike distinguished for political wisdom and religious 
zeal. His brief biography, should be inscribed on every 
brow that wears a crown, and humble every breast covered 
with the badges of civil or ecclesiastical authority, not emu- 
lous of his distinction. It was his excellence, that in all the 
extent of his influence he enforced the laws of God, by mak- 
ing all his edicts subservient to that righteousness which ex- 
alteth a nation, and subversive of those principles and habits 
which are a reproach to any people. " Thus," says the 



SERMON XX. 



historian, " did he throughout all Judah, and wrought that 
which was good, and right and truth, before the Lord his 
God. And in every work that he began in the service of 
the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, 
to seek his God, he did it with all his heart and prospered." 
Blessed art thou O ! land, when thy governors are descend- 
ed of nobility like this ; and blessed he to whose name shall 
be awarded, by such a judge, a testimony so honorable, an 
influence so efficient and so salutary. 

But we are not come hither to-day to eulogize man, liv- 
ing or dead, of ancient or of modern time. Enough of this 
has already occupied the ingenious labors of the civilian in 
the year that is past. It is our privilege to leave the depart- 
ed chief magistrates of the American people to an undisturb- 
ed grave, and to refer the decision of their ultimate destiny 
to a more competent tribunal. From all creatures, whatever 
may have been their earthly distinction, we are, on this an- 
niversary, to transfer our eulogies to God — the Author and 
Benefactor of all. And whence could we have selected a 
better model of our duty, than is placed before us in the 
public commemoration by Hezekiah and his people, of the 
mercy of the Lord in having given us our life for a prey? 
To us, whoever else is deprived of the residue of his years 
and gone to the gates of the grave, to us remains the obliga- 
tion and the privilege of offering the praises which the grave 
never renders, which death never celebrates ; and to diffuse 
among contemporaries, and transmit to the generation which 
is to come, the truth which is hid from them who have gone 
down into the pit. Let us mingle then, with the praises 
which Hezekiah perpetuated through so many ages in the 
Jewish sanctuary, the same holy incense in this court of the 
Gentiles — Thou, O Lord, hast been ready to save, therefore 
will we sing our song to the stringed instruments all the days 
of our life, in the house of the Lord forever. The sentiment 
, 37 



290 



SERMON XX. 



adopted from this model, and now to be enforced, is — that 

IN THE PRESERVATION OF EVERY VALUABLE LIFE, WE HAVE 
GROUND FOR HOLY GRATULATION AND THANKSGIVING. And 

what life is not thus valuable ? Not excepting even the 
basest of men ; since on its continuance is suspended the 
salvation of the soul : and, in case of the christian house- 
holder, the welfare of a family, or the means of blessing the 
commonwealth, and a common country ; or the nobler and 
more extended privilege, of contributing to the advancement 
and the glory of the kingdom of God our Saviour. And for 
the preservation of a life of such immense importance, per- 
sonal or public, and rendered still more so by the condition 
of the age in which it is prolonged, every one of us is to feel 
his obligations, and to give account to God. 

1. In the first place, to many of us God has lengthened 
out a life, on whose continuance is suspended the means of 
personal piety, and the acquisition of the salvation of 
the soul. How many hundreds do I address, who, but 
for the distinction which the sovereignty of God alone 
has made between them and those who have gone to 
the congregation of the dead, had lost the possibility 
of a happy immortality ? Who in the last, as well as in all 
preceding years, have forfeited anew both the blessings and 
the oners of salvation, and cut themselves off, by neglecting 
the provisions of redeeming mercy, from even the hope of 
praising God forever? Tell me not, then, you are under no 
obligation to praise your Preserver for this, because man's 
life is so much a vapor ; and the love of it so much decried 
in our sacred ethics ; and because to live simply, or to live 
only for present enjoyment, is confessedly a wretched portion. 
Life is so much the more invaluable to him, for whom to die 
would be no gain. And by as much as life is worthless in 
view of its brevity and vanity and labor, by so much is its 
prolongation of infinite importance to the sinner^ and worthy 



SERMON XX. 



291 



the expression of his public, religious, and perpetual praise. 
Because, in this is involved the renewed favor of every thing 
like privilege to the wretched ; of every means ever to be 
enjoyed of rendering possible to him the pursuit of glor}*, 
and honor, and immortality, by which alone everlasting life 
is attained. To him it is of equal value with the virtue and 
the heaven, whose acquisition are suspended upon the proper 
use of that fragment of life which remains. And even to the 
christian, it is as important as the perfection of his personal 
piety ; and the honor and bliss of contributing to the further- 
ance of Christianity : and this, you will remark, is the grand 
object for which the existence of the world itself is prolong- 
ed. And it is only in these lights we can either hope, or de- 
sire, to impress }'Our hearts with a weighty sense of obliga- 
tion to God, for preservation from the pit where you could 
not hope for his truth ; nor for the opportunity to make it 
known unto j'our children. Remaining in bondage to his 
lusts, and feeling only a selfish interest in the prolongation 
of life, the sinner, I am aware, does not make any just esti- 
mate of the favor done him in this respite ; and is of course 
totally dead to this sentiment of the monarch of Judea, and 
men of kindred minds. Yet even he, however unwilling to 
yield it, cannot fail to perceive his obligations to give his 
whole heart to the praises of his Preserver. Yes, to the 
wicked life is*more eminently a peculiar favor, than to the 
righteous. They have a far deeper personal interest in its 
continuance ; far higher obligations are theirs, to the com- 
passion and favor of God for this benefit. Think of this in 
your estimate of this day's privilege, or you will know no- 
thing of the blessing freely given you of God, nor render to 
him on this occasion, any thing of the devout adoration and 
gratitude which 3^011 are come up hither to express. 

The grief of Hezekiah at the delivery of the Prophet's 
message- — " Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die"— 



292 



SERMON XX. 



did not arise from a mere love of life ; nor the love of the 
world ; nor a dread of death, and its momentous issues. It 
originated in the profound and affecting thought, that unless 
a respite from this sentence were granted him, the welfare of 
his family, the prosperity of the nation, the peace and sta- 
bility of the church, were to derive from his prayers, and 
example, and labors, nothing more forever. And it was be- 
cause for him to live, was to glorify God on earth, and to be 
of some benefit to his great moral family, that his benevolent 
heart deprecated the prospect of an early removal to the 
land of darkness ; by which all its liberal devices, and holy 
purposes, should have been unavoidably left unaccomplish- 
ed. And because he is the model of our devotional senti- 
ments, and songs of gratitude, this is to be the — 

2. Second part of our illustration. Consider then, how 
much of the welfare of your families depends upon the Provi- 
dence, for which the living alone, of all the heads of our 
households, are urged to praise God, as the righteous do 
this day. And let us not fail to observe, through all the 
following illustrations, that in our age, life is of more value 
than it ever was before ; and that in its preservation, we have 
so much the greater cause for gratitude and praise to its Pre- 
server, as our facilities, both for superior personal piety, and 
public usefulness, are more numerous and extensive. An 
ordinary citizen now in our country, if he have Hezekiah's 
heart, may be more a blessing, and more blessed, than that 
monarch : may diffuse light and joy more widely ; and bless 
mankind, both good and evil, more richly ; and make his 
salutary influence to be felt through a larger mass of the 
generations to come. And for the obvious reason, that the 
dispensation of grace under which we live is more enlarged. 
No longer is it confined to a single nation ; no longer is the 
good proposed to man, through the efforts of human benev- 
olence, a contemptible offering in the eye of the nations ; 



SERMON XX. 



293 



nor are those who are the objects of these efforts universally 
a gainsaying and incorrigible people. Ethiopia stretches out 
her hands unto God ; the Jew begins to despair of a Mes- 
siah yet to come ; the Isles wait for his law, " and all na- 
tions sigh to be renewed." By means of the progress of 
knowledge and commercial intercourse, of science and just 
sentiments on the subject of human rights, the growth of free 
institutions and the increase of wealth and religious influ- 
ence, distant nations are brought together, intermixed, and 
taught to feel more the sensibilities of a common nature, and 
a national brotherhood ; and to see that the fullness of time 
is advancing, for a gathering of the inhabitants of the globe 
to a common standard under the banner of Messiah the 
Prince. 

It is in such an age, Parents ! your children, and those of 
another and another generation will live ; and under the 
auspices of this reign of grace will their sentiments and ha- 
bits be formed ; and their influence, civil, moral, and reli- 
gious, receive its direction ; and by these means will their 
destiny be fixed for eternity. And what use you will make 
of the high privilege God has given you, for forming their 
characters, directing their influence, and fixing their destiny 
under such facilities, your remaining conversation in the 
world is to testify. Think of the difference, which only half 
a century has made in the means of useful and sacred 
knowledge. Many a parent who hears me, can, from per- 
sonal knowledge make the comparison ; and thence estimate 
the superiority of the present means over former advantages. 
Now instead of only Dilworth's Spelling book in the schools; 
and Watts' Catechism in the nursery ; and Janeway's Token 
for children in the history of God's wonders in the church ; 
you have the elements of every science to put into the hands 
of children, brought down to the level of their capacities ; 
and compendious histories of the whole religious world, in 



294 



SERMON XX. 



the most alluring garb, to elevate and enrich their minds ; 
and all the means necessary to make them as ripe in knowl- 
edge and understanding, in the greenness of youth, as were 
their ancestors generally, at the end of their inquiries. A 
few devoted mothers then, favored with peculiar and extra- 
ordinary teachers, could by personal assiduity, do something 
for the elevation of their offspring. But how much did even 
these, labor alone ? Well qualified helpers, in our common 
and sabbath schools ; in every department of agriculture ; 
and the mechanic as well as the liberal arts ; in literature 
too and religion, are within your reach, to train the rising 
generation to all that is valuable in knowledge of the life 
that now is, and of that which is to come. Who then, if he 
wishes for the benefit of his family and of his lineage, and 
would see them emulating excellence in a secular profession, 
or set in order for eternal life, can reflect how little his ar- 
dor of feeling and enterprize for their improvement, have 
kept pace with his growing facilities for accomplishing so 
much good to his household, and not thank God for sparing' 
him a fragment of life to fill up in zealous efforts for re- 
deeming the loss, and in holy achievements for their good ? 
Who will think it a small thing, to have lived one year 
longer for such a purpose ? Who will not surpass the devout 
Hezekiah, in pious recollections and thanksgivings, when, 
with the remembrance of the personal favor done him, he 
associates the fact, that for the sake of the offspring of his 
body, God has renewed the opportunities of the fathers and 
mothers in Israel thus to make known to the children his 
truth ? Ah ! mourning households, they that have gone 
down to the pit, cannot hope for this ! 

3. But, in the third place, the opportunities of fulfilling 
the duties of our citizenship, and blessing the whole Com- 
monwealth, are comprehended in the benefit now under con- 
sideration. This every man can do ; and is bound to do. 



SERMON XX. 



295 



whatever be his station, both by his oath, and the laws of his 
country and his God ; and this he can do, only by obeying 
her laws. Long ago was it proclaimed from the bench, by 
one of those precious few of the Judges of our country, who 
give ample evidence that they both fear God and regard 
man, that "Every wicked man is an enemy to his country, 
because he breaks her laws ; and spreads the contagion of 
vice around him ; and because his conduct has a direct ten- 
dency to bring down the vengeance of heaven on his coun- 
try. There is no other way of discharging our duty to it, 
but by yielding obedience to all her laws : not this, or that, 
but every law. Some dislike one, and some another ; and 
there are some so bad they hate all law. One is averse to 
the law of the sabbath, and therefore he breaks it ; another, 
to that which forbids swearing, and therefore he breaks it ; 
a third complains of the law that restrains diversions on Sun- 
day, and therefore he breaks it. What is to become of a 
country, where the laws are thus insulted and violated by 
every man at his pleasure ? Christianity stands or falls with 
the sabbath ; and if it does fall, will pull down with it the 
pillars of government, and bury our country in ruins. That 
man who obeys only those laws which please his humor, and 
deliberately violates those he disapproves, I venture to as- 
sert, has not a single drop of patriotic blood in his veins, or 
benevolence in his heart. Possessing a particle of either, he 
would cheerfully acquiesce in every law that has any ten- 
dency to promote the general good. Has the law said, thou 
shalt do no unnecessary work, nor practise any diversion on 
the sabbath ? He that offends in these particulars, and 
against both heaven and earth, is a bad citizen, and a bad 
man. He can have no better pretension to the character of 
a good citizen, than the robber on the high-way ; though 
there be a difference in the nature and degree of these 
crimes. " Such is the bold language of truth and integrity. 



296 



SERMON XX. 



addressed from the bench to a jury of our country. For 
once, then, the language of the Pulpit and of the Forum has 
spoken the same thing, in regard to the duties and the char- 
acter of the citizen. Enjoying the protection and blessing 
of government, he is bound by every lawful means, instead 
of violating, to support the laws. He has no claim to live 
to himself, or even to his family, to the injury of his coun- 
try. In a representative government like ours, his respon- 
sibility to the community for the character of his rulers is 
direct and mighty. The qualifications of magistrates are 
fixed by the Almighty ; and it is not by any liberty which 
man can give, that they may be unfixed or dispensed with 
by the act of the citizen. The character of the laws, and of 
those whose duty it is to execute them, are in all the extent 
of his suffrage and his influence, with him ; and he will be 
called to give account of them to God. The source whence 
the power emanates is the responsible agent ; which, in this 
case, is the will of the people. The morals and happiness, 
the good or injury of the community, rest in a measure on 
the agency of every citizen. The crimes which our Chief 
Magistrate calls on us to lament as degrading the moral 
character of our community, are therefore our crimes, if we 
have neglected any of the duties of good citizens by which 
they were to be prevented. 

What a privilege is ours then, of exerting all our influence 
to diminish them, and make that community virtuous and 
happy. How valuable the continuance of a life on which 
depends, in any degree, the decision of the question, whether 
the vile shall be restrained and the virtuous protected ; and 
all that is just in principle, and good in morals, be maintain- 
ed or subverted. Whether the institutions on which the dig- 
nity and glory, as well as safety, and even existence of social 
order depends, shall be honored or trodden down. Whether 
profaneness, debauchery, gaming, intemperance, fraud, sab- 



SERMON XX. 



bath-breaking, and the other common vices of the time, 
shall meet the law's rebuke, and the public frown ; or find 
countenance in the unresisting and pusillanimous silence and 
inaction of the citizens. Every man cannot say that the vices 
of the community shall be reformed or restrained ; but he 
can say, that nothing shall be left undone, which it is his 
duty to do, to produce that most desirable and salutary im- 
provement. But when death has terminated your citizen- 
ship, your whole activity and influence in the decision is lost 
to the state. Had you gone to }^our fathers, your memory 
would perhaps ere now have been forgotten, and your in- 
fluence unfelt, and neither your advice, counsel, nor effective 
agency by example, had given this year a verdict for God 
and your country. You would have furthered no longer 
the cause of virtuous liberty ; nor the peace, stability, and 
happiness of society, against the ever busy influence of un- 
principled and immoral men. In the cutting off* of your 
days, a blow had been given to the authority of the right- 
eous, in whose rule the people rejoice ; and in the grave of 
a truly virtuous citizen, had been buried the one talent or 
the ten, for the want of whose proprietor the righteous 
always mourn. Every man who loves his country may, 
without immodesty, perceive and feel this ; and therefore be 
thankful for the preservation of a life which is to be devoted 
to the public welfare. The loss of every such citizen, how- 
ever humble his name or station, is a public loss : the pres- 
ervation of his example and influence, a cause of public grat- 
itude, because it is a public benefit — and because the coun- 
try has but few such faithful citizens to spare or lose. What 
would have been the fate of Israel, in the event of Hezekiah's 
exit in the midst of his years ? And what better than bands 
of tow, are the sinews of any government committed to 
raw, unstable, immoral, and popularity-seeking young men ; 
or, what is worse, men grown hoary in devising schemes of 
38 



298 



SERMON XX. 



a corrupt policy, to supplant the statutes and maxims of the 
wisdom which is from above. Let those maxims take deep 
hold of our sensibilities and our deeds. For if the founda- 
tions be destroyed, what can the righteous do ? And if the 
breaking down the bulwarks reared with the religious insti- 
tutions, and principles, and moral habits of the fathers of 
New England, is to be the effect of the prolongation of the 
lives of this generation, better (will they who come after us 
be constrained to say) better for them had we been swept 
away together with the besom of destruction, and perished, 
like the profligates, in the flood. When these bulwarks are 
destroyed, no good man will hesitate to feel, and to lament, 
that the glory is departed. 

4. But a higher and more extensive privilege, is involved 
in the benefit of a life prolonged in circumstances like ours : 
It is that of directly advancing the kingdom of Christ on 
earth, to its consummation. In regard to the facilities af- 
forded us for this, we have only to say, that the benevolence 
which has ever existed in the breasts of God's people, is now 
furnished, like that of the seraphim above, with many wings, 
in the associations which serve as pioneers, or depots, or 
messengers of christian philanthropy, to the world of indi- 
gence surrounding us at home, or the wilds of ignorance and 
wretchedness abroad. Of such associations, the society 
which to-day reminds us of our privilege, is one of the many 
which exemplifies this truth. The poor we have indeed al- 
ways with us, and when we will we may do them good. But 
how vast the difference between searching out the cause we 
know not, at the expense of personal and daily assiduity, 
and supplying the subjects of poverty and distress, with the 
means of healing their sicknesses, and softening the asperity of 
a solitary and unconsoled death-bed ; and making others the 
almoners of both our worldly and spiritual bounty — the in- 
struments of ministering a meagre pittance to the necessities 



SERMON XX. 



299 



of a hundred distinct fellow-beings, as they respectively re- 
quire, at hundreds of timely separate visitations ! By sim- 
ilar associations, we carry to the rapidly peopling forests of 
our own country, to the Islands of every sea, to the Pagan 
world, and the climes of every shore unchristian and unciv- 
ilized, the benefits of knowledge, and the institutions of that 
pure and undefiled religion, which are alike the basis of in- 
tellectual and moral freedom. 

" For this end was I born, and for this end came I into 
the world, to bear witness to the truth." Error, scientific 
or religious, cannot be a permanent basis of individual or 
national felicity. In relation to this object, it is but "the 
fabric of a vision." The end of Christ, is, by divine au- 
thority, to be the grand aim and end of all men. None, by 
permission of the heavens, lives or dies unto himself; and 
for whatever object other than to do good, any one lives, 
however successful, he will die poor and blind and wretched. 
No ultimate good is attainable by any means other than 
those proposed in the gospel ; and these are the communi- 
cative spirit, and the benevolent temper of its Author. These 
therefore being of the very essence of holiness, are of the 
nature of privileges. It is, of consequence, among the great- 
est of blessings to have that life extended, in which alone the 
great family of man are to be benefitted by our voluntary- 
agency. Man cannot practise a greater deceit upon his 
heart, than in holding tenaciously the maxim, that he di- 
minishes the amount of his own enjoyment in the same pro- 
portion that he ministers, from all his resources, to the real 
good of others. It is a sentiment contradicted by the whole 
economy of God, who surely knows, and of consequence 
adopts and executes, the wisest measures for glorifying him- 
self. It is contradicted too. by the experience of the wise 
and the virtuous part of the community, in all parts and all 
ages of the world. The result of all this experience, even 



300 



SERMON XX. 



to the end of the world, the prescience of Jesus Christ has 
anticipated, and left on record, in the memorable saying — 
" it is more blessed to give than to receive." And he is the 
more easily credited in this paradox, as it was explained by 
him in giving his glory and his life in sacrifice, as a ransom 
for the wretched and the lost. Here then, is your standard 
for the value of life ; and being virtuous and happy in pro* 
portion as we approximate it ; and our life being valuable, 
in proportion to our facilities for approaching the measure 
of the stature of his fullness of beneficent action towards 
mankind ; how do our obligations swell and rise as we ad- 
vance in the illustration ? For look abroad over the world : 
survey the mass of human ignorance, superstition, degrad- 
ing servitude, and misery, and see what an unbounded field 
for such effort, the exercise of such virtue, and the use of 
such privilege, remains to us and the following generations, 
before the empire of truth and happiness shall have become 
universal. That it will become so, and by the agency of man 
too, is certain. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts is pledged to 
such an issue. Though the work be but begun, it is begun 
to the complete exposure of their folly, who, half a century 
ago pronounced idle and visionary both the object — the illu- 
mination and conversion of the world — and the means pro- 
posed for its accomplishment. Three hundred stations, dis- 
tant as the poles, designated for the site of religious missions ; 
a thousand witnesses for Christ proclaiming thence the glad 
tidings of salvation ; among them, four hundred preachers 
converted to Christ, and themselves preaching the faith, 
which, according to the predictions of unbelief, they could 
not be made either to understand or to receive ; forty thousand 
souls discioled cordially to Christianity from the various pa- 
gan tribes ; and two hundred thousand children redeemed from 
the pupilage of idolaters, and training up to disseminate the 
principles of truth and to scatter the seeds of wisdom among 



SERMON XX. 



301 



their barbarous countrymen ; and forty printing presses, ac- 
tively engaged on the very fields claimed by antichrist as 
all his own, now scaling the ramparts and demolishing the 
bulwarks of ignorance and sin ; these, these are the testimo- 
nials to the truth that the work is, with rational expectation 
of success, commenced ; and unambiguous exhibitions of the 
value of the judgment and foresight of sages and the learned — 
of the worth and tendency of the opinions and effects of un- 
belief! Where is the wise, where is the scribe, where the dis- 
puter of this world ; hath not God made foolish the wisdom 
of this world ? And where is the band of faithless, and conse- 
quently inactive, or opposing hearts, who heard the com- 
mand — " Go preach my gospel to every creature," and 
never so much as inquired after the means of executing the 
great commission ? Gone, beloved hearers ! by thousands, 
to the judgment seat of him who sealed that commission with 
his blood ; there to answer for disregarding the authority 
which signed it, or regarding it only as worthy the attention 
of fishermen, and their enthusiastic followers ; and we are 
left to fill up what was lacking in the labors of all those who 
have gone before us. Brethren ! what a privilege is ours ! 
The livings the living, shall praise thee, O ! thou Preserver 
of men, and Lawgiver, as well as Saviour, of the world, as 
ive do this day. 

The work, I have said, though sure of accomplishment, 
is but begun. At home, the very fount of knowledge — the 
word of God — is in some of these christian republics, in the 
houses of but one quarter of the families which make their 
population ; and without this, man is but the slave of hope- 
lessness, and ignorance, and sin ; an heir to perpetual mis- 
chief and misery, without a mitigating or alleviating circum- 
stance in his condition. In the whole of the South American 
Empire, Asia, Africa, and many parts of Europe, the Bible 
is in far fewer hands. And out of the eight hundred millions 



302 



SERMON XX. 



of the world's inhabitants, a fourth part only are nominally 
christian : and of these you will remark, not less than one 
hundred thousand are indebted for whatever of civilization 
and christian privilege they enjoy, to modern missions. The 
reward is liberal indeed, for the time and the stinted exer- 
tions of the christian nations. 

But consider a moment some of the facilities for aug- 
menting both the exertions, and the sources of pleasure and 
profit to mankind, even with little labour ; and of effecting 
extensive good by small means, in a short life. And this too, 
not as in times gone by, by one half the species only : for 
it is a peculiar feature of the age, that this sphere of useful- 
ness is enlarged to admit that sex, and those youth of both 
sexes, whose labors and whose influence were formerly lim- 
ited to the narrow circle of the school room and the walks 
of domestic life. Now they are fellow-laborers with us, in 
all the extent of the household of God. Hezekiah, and the 
men of his age of kindred mind, had almost every thing val- 
uable to accomplish by personal assiduity, device, and en- 
terprize. Even the Apostles of Jesus Christ, were little 
more encouraged by finding associates in their labors. If 
they wished the gospel to be preached in Italy or Spain, or 
Gaul, or among the Islands, they themselves were to be the 
missionaries. Did they deem it their duty to publish and 
scatter it — they must see it transcribed with pen and ink ? 
and transported perhaps from one Province or Colony to 
another, on their own, or the shoulders of their friends. In 
our time three thousand Bible Societies, with as little labor 
as was then demanded for a few copies, place hundreds of 
thousands at the disposal of the benevolent ; and they, by a 
word's speaking, and the avails of a few days' personal 
labor, spread them among the destitute in every quar- 
ter of the globe. In their day, the attempt to convert 
Jew or Gentile, was attended with both difficulty and 



SERMON XX. 



303 



danger ; and was often made at the sacrifice of every 
temporal comfort, and at the peril of life itself. To 
Jew and Gentile, you give the same hopeful means of 
knowledge and salvation, by merely laying up a por- 
tion of the superfluous products of your industry, as God 
has prospered you ; and following it to its destination with 
your persevering and cordial supplications for the wretched, 
and for them who have volunteered their services and for- 
saken all, to tell the wretched, words by which they and 
their households may be saved. You stand upon the mar- 
gin of your own peaceful river, where goes no galley with 
oars, and which bears to you upon its tide, the delicacies of 
every clime ; and with better success than if you crossed the 
Pacific yourself, may rescue an hundred children, on the 
banks of the Ganges, from a watery grave ; or a burning wid- 
ow from the funeral pile of her husband. With only the 
heart of an Apostle, or the spirit of Dorcas, you instruct a 
generation who know not God, ten thousand miles distant, 
without leaving your fire sides, or yielding one social enjoy- 
ment ; and talk, in the person of some friend or acquaint- 
ance of your own State, to an hundred idolaters in the South- 
ern Ocean, of the way of salvation ; their hearts burning 
within them, and the tears of penitence and gratitude bedew- 
ing their furrowed cheeks, as he walks with them by the 
way, and opens to them the scriptures, on the beach beneath 
the Palm, or within the posts of their ruder sanctuary. And 
all this, it is your enviable privilege to do, without diminish- 
ing your power to enjoy for yourself the fullness of the bless- 
ing of the gospel of peace — without endangering your liber- 
ty, your life, or even your competence. 

And when you would warn the wicked on your shores, or 
send pungent conviction to the heart of the God-defying 
sailor on the seas, who exposes his spiritual as well as natur- 
al life, to protect or accumulate property for you ; instead of 



304 



SERMON XX. 



travel .mg over the country, or traversing the ocean, you ac- 
complish your object without any painfulness of rebuke, or 
hearing of blasphemies, by means of some of those thou- 
sands of silent but insinuating messengers of mercy, ever 
ready at your order to speak to him in God's name, to judge 
him out of his own mouth, and, like a true Prophet, to say 
to him, " thou art the man." 

Such are the facilities God has given, and in our spared 
life renewed to us, for pleading the cause of mercy, and do- 
ing homage to truth, and at the same time most effectually 
doing good to man. Thus it is too, men of the most ordi- 
nary endowments and humble gifts, or woman, or child, 
needs only to know the day of visitation and what the Lord 
our God requires, to be great in the kingdom of heaven. 
The least of us is enabled to act upon a greater intellectual 
and moral surface from year to year, than even an Apostle ; 
and the poor widow, guided by God, and under the influence 
of a prayerful spirit, may accomplish more good, than the 
wealthiest and the wisest Jew, in the earlier days of benevo- 
lent christian enterprize. What is not life worth, my breth- 
ren ! under such auspicious circumstances ? One fervent 
prayer, with corresponding action, accomplishes now the ob- 
ject, formerly possible only to an age of miracles. And as 
the day draws on, in which the mystery of God and of sin 
are to be finished, and the glory of the church and of its 
Leader to be consummated, every hour of our life will be- 
come more and more valuable ; every thought and deed 
more important, and influential on the soul's eternal destiny, 
and pregnant with great and glorious, or deadly conse- 
quences to one's-self and to mankind. Let us each give 
glory to God, then, and excite others to praise him, not in 
word and in tongue only, but in deed and in truth, that by 
his gracious forbearance he has come in view of the king- 



• 



SERMON XX. 



305 



dom at such a time as this ; and is still allowed to act ac- 
cording to his own pleasure in its behalf. 

And now, to conclude the illustration and to enforce the 
duty of such praises, (for such only are God's delight,) let 
me say to you beloved hearer ! of all these privileges and 
facilities for doing good, and for the spared life which in- 
volves them all, you must render an account to God. I may 
have set before you truths with which you have no fellow- 
ship, and obligations to the praises of Jehovah, for what 
some of you deem an unwelcome duty. But to be spared 
one's life for such purposes, is a proof of God's love to our 
souls; because death terminates the opportunity to execute 
them. And those whose consciences tell them that such are 
not their desires ; that their lives are not to be voluntarily 
employed in doing good, but in exerting an influence, per- 
sonal or domestic, civil or religious, adverse to the interests 
of Christ's kingdom ; have cause to fear that God has pro- 
longed their lives, that they ma}' fill up the measure of their 
iniquity ; and complete the demonstration that they are unfit 
for the kingdom of God. 

Hezekiah's life was preserved in answer to his prayers ; 
and thus it was God's gift and deserving of praise. But to 
them whose life has been given them for a prey without their 
asking, it is an indication of their unfitness for death ; and 
an exercise of forbearance which seems to say — give glory to 
its Preserver, by making all possible advantage of the present 
respite. The obligation to do thus is founded, not on the 
distinction between christians and unbelievers, but on that 
between the living and the dead. The living, the living, 
they shall praise thee ; and sing my song in the house of the 
Lord forever. What is his errand into the world, who 
neither comes to scatter blessings among others, nor is en- 
gaged to secure his own salvation ? Will he hope for God's 
truth in the grave ? Will he make known his righteousness 
39 



300 



SERMON XX. 



to his children, when the worm is feeding on him ; or triumph 
in the thought, that the Lord, in his life time, was ready 
to save, but he had no faith in his truth ? 

And now, beloved hearers ! having made known your ob- 
ligations to the loving-kindness of the Lord, and to sing his 
praises in his house — let me propose the inquiry, as you rise 
to give the answer, and depart every man to his own house — 
will you devote the soul redeemed by blood, and the life 
ransomed from the grave by almighty power, to yourselves ; 
or yield the soul, so vast in its capacity, and the remnant 
of a life so comprehensive of privilege, to God the Redeemer 
©f the one, and of the other the acknowledged Preserver ? 



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